June 2011 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are selected June 2011 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Bank secrecy; foreign currency deposits.  Republic Act No. 1405 was enacted for the purpose of giving encouragement to the people to deposit their money in banking institutions and to discourage private hoarding so that the same may be properly utilized by banks in authorized loans to assist in the economic development of the country.  It covers all bank deposits in the Philippines and no distinction was made between domestic and foreign deposits.  Thus, Republic Act No. 1405 is considered a law of general application.  On the other hand, Republic Act No. 6426 was intended to encourage deposits from foreign lenders and investors.  It is a special law designed especially for foreign currency deposits in the Philippines.  A general law does not nullify a specific or special law.  Generalia specialibus non derogant.  Therefore, it is beyond cavil that Republic Act No. 6426 applies in this case.

Applying Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426, absent the written permission from Domsat, Westmont Bank cannot be legally compelled to disclose the bank deposits of Domsat, otherwise, it might expose itself to criminal liability under the same act.  Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 189206. June 8, 2011.

Trademark; Harvard.  There is no question then, and this Court so declares, that “Harvard” is a well-known name and mark not only in the United States but also internationally, including the Philippines. The mark “Harvard” is rated as one of the most famous marks in the world. It has been registered in at least 50 countries. It has been used and promoted extensively in numerous publications worldwide. It has established a considerable goodwill worldwide since the founding of Harvard University more than 350 years ago. It is easily recognizable as the trade name and mark of Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., internationally known as one of the leading educational institutions in the world. As such, even before Harvard University applied for registration of the mark “Harvard” in the Philippines, the mark was already protected under Article 6bis and Article 8 of the Paris Convention. Again, even without applying the Paris Convention, Harvard University can invoke Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 166 which prohibits the registration of a mark “which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs x x x.”  Fredco Manufacturing Corporation vs. President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard University), G.R. No. 185917, June 1, 2011.

(This post will be updated when the remaining June 2011 cases are published.)

(Hector thanks Mowie Sison for his assistance to Lexoterica.)