Display and design your pride the right way



Today, June 12, the Philippine flag will be on display everywhere in celebration of the country's independence from Spain but citizens would do well to know the right way to show your national pride.


In addition to the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines states that a symbol containing the flag or coat of arms, or any insignia of the Philippines cannot be registered as a trademark.


Why? Applying for trademark registration means you're claiming exclusive ownership of a symbol / logo / sign for use in commerce. It is tantamount to proclaiming the logo is your private property.


Sec. 123.1 (b) of the IP Code states a mark cannot be considered registrable if it “consists of the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the Philippines or any of its political subdivisions, or of any foreign nation, or any simulation thereof;”


As far as trademarks are concerned, the IPOPHL may consider acceptable only some elements of the national flag but not a true representation of it nor a modification that would amount to defacement of the flag.


This may be a reason why some businesses, like a certain airline, has been permitted to use elements reminiscent of the Philippine flag in their registered trademark.


However, some overzealous businesses, recently have run afoul of nationalistic citizens for using and selling accessories designed predominantly with the Philippine flag in its true representation albeit slightly modified.


Even if the flag is just used as a design in the accessory rather than a trademark of the company, it is still in violation of the Philippine Flag and Heraldic Code which is clear that to print, paint, or attach a representation of the flag in articles of merchandise is prohibited.