Unfair Competition in a sense means that the competitors compete on unequal terms, because favorable or disadvantageous conditions are applied to some competitors but not to others; or that the actions of some competitors actively harm the position of others with respect to their ability to compete on equal and fair terms. It contrasts with fair competition, in which the same rules and conditions are applied to all participants, and the competitive action of some does not harm the ability of others to compete. Often, unfair competition means that the gains of some participants are conditional on the losses of others, when the gains are made in ways which are illegitimate or unjust.
Case:Vinegar competition turns sour
Solon seeks alleged copyright breach probed
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 14:15:00 12/14/2010
MANILA, Philippines?Things are turning sour for a small entrepreneur who concocted one of the Filipino household?s favorite condiments these days, the Suka Pinakurat.
The Del Rosario clan of the Green Gold Gourmet Foods Inc. (GGGFI), a Mindanao-based manufacturer of the spiced vinegar, expressed fears that after a brief success in retailing their Suka Pinakurat brand, they might slowly disappear in the market because of unfair practices of a giant competitor.
Rendo Del Rosario, one of the owners of GGGFI, sought the help of the House of Representatives in looking into the unfair practices of Southeast Asia Foods Inc. (Safi), which produced a very similar brand, the Datu Puti Pinoy Kurat Spiced Tuba Vinegar.
Appearing in a news conference with Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teodoro Casiño, Del Rosario lamented that the giant manufacturer copied their brand and is now threatening to dislodge them in the market.
?The normal situation is small players copy from the big players, here we have a situation where it is the big players who are copying from the small players,? he said. ?How can small players develop when they will be eaten up eventually by big players??
Casiño , chairman of the committee on small business and entrepreneurship, has filed House Resolution 577 to investigate the purported violations of SAFI that he said ?infringes on the successes of small enterprises.?
?This is like Goliath vs. David, with Safi using its market power to undermine GGGFI and the Intellectual Property Office acting as an accomplice,? Casino said.
He said that Datu Puti Pinoy Kurat ?appears to violate Section 123 of the Intellectual Property Code (Republic Act 8293) which states that ?a mark cannot be registered if it is identical or confusingly similar to an already registered mark. As such, it may be considered a trademark infringement, which is a form of unfair competition.??
?What baffles me is while the Philippine Intellectual Property Office has yet to act on the application for registration of the Datu Puti Pinoy Kurat brand, Safi is already flooding the market, resulting in lost sales and other detrimental effects on the original Suka Pinakurat. Government has yet to do something to protect our small players in the face of this clear case of unfair and illegal competition,” Casiño said.
Safi is listed as the manufacturer and distributor of Datu Puti products lines such as vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, Mang Tomas, Golden Fiesta Cooking Oil, Nelicom lines, among others.
It is said to manufacture 60 to 70 percent of the condiments in the supermarket shelves.
Del Rosario said that going to court against Safi is an option, but acknowledges the reality that court cases could take years, and could sap the small firm?s resources.
Since it registered its Suka Pinakurat in 2006, Del Rosario said GGGFI has given employment to more than 100 people, who manufacture the special variety of vinegar.
?We don?t have big machinery, we only have blender and blower, which we use to seal the cap. We don?t have grand marketing, only our good reputation,? Del Rosario said. He said he hopes all these will not be lost because the government failed to protect the rights of small entrepreneurs in the country.
The Philippine Law that I’ll apply in this dilemma/issue is Unfair Competition Act and the agency that I’ll implement is National Bureau of Investigation.