Commercial Law

Roberto Del Rosario vs Court of Appeals

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G.R. No. 115106 – 255 SCRA 152 – Mercantile Law – Intellectual Property Law – Law on Patents – Infringement – Karaoke Machine

Roberto Del Rosario was granted a patent for his innovation called the “Minus One” karaoke. The patent was issued in June 1988 for five years and was renewed in November 1991 for another five years as there were improvement introduced to his “minus one” karaoke. In 1993, while the patent was still effective, Del Rosario sued Janito Corporation, a Japanese company owned by Janito Cua, for allegedly infringing upon the patent of Del Rosario. Del Rosario alleged that Janito was manufacturing a sing-along system under the brand “miyata karaoke” which is substantially, if not identical, the same to his “minus one” karaoke. The lower court ruled in favor of Del Rosario but the Court of Appeals ruled that there was no infringement because the karaoke system was a universal product manufactured, advertised, and marketed all over the world long before Del Rosario was issued his patents.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in its ruling.

HELD: Yes. The Patent Law expressly acknowledges that any new model of implements or tools of any industrial product even if not possessed of the quality of invention but which is of practical utility is entitled to a patent for utility model. Here, there is no dispute that the letters patent issued to Del Rosario are for utility models of audio equipment. It is elementary that a patent may be infringed where the essential or substantial features of the patented invention are taken or appropriated, or the device, machine or other subject matter alleged to infringe is substantially identical with the patented invention. In order to infringe a patent, a machine or device must perform the same function, or accomplish the same result by identical or substantially identical means and the principle or mode of operation must be substantially the same. In the case at bar, miyata karaoke was proven to have substantial if not identical functionality as that of the minus one karaoke which was covered by the second patent issued to Del Rosario. Further, Janito failed to present competent evidence that will show that Del Rosario’s innovation is not new.

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