We are undeniably surrounded by competition. But when does competition become too much of a burden for any business, especially a small one? Having created your very own product and being able to sell it to the people is always great especially when it becomes something that’s sensational and very appealing to the masses. But as the product gains recognition, other businesses that see it as a major threat shamelessly do everything to be always one step ahead even when it’s obviously wrong.
A small yet very successful business in Iligan City, in Mindanao called Green Gold Gourmet Foods, Inc. (GGGFI) is currently filing a lawsuit against condiments giant Nutri Asia (formerly Southeast Asia Foods Inc.) for unfair business practices. GGGFI’s prime product Suka Pinakurat, a special blend of coco vinegar and selected spices has been a widely-known product in Mindanao particularly in Iligan City.
The product is registered with the Philippine Intellectual Property Office in 2006, as well as Australia’s Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent Office in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Despite this fact the Pinakurat brand name was copied by Nutri Asia with its introduction of Pinoy Kurat Spiced Tuba Vinegar as part of their Datu Puti brand’s line of products.
For many months, I’ve heard several stories about this case circulating around Iligan City and other parts of Northern Mindanao. I remember some of my friends talking about it. With this in mind I decided to look for more facts and additional information. My effort yielded great results and here’s what I’ve found.
According to a reliable source that GGGFI’s estranged distributor FBC Trust actually registered Pinakurat in the US under the name of one Nathan Yap without the consent of GGGFI. Yap promised the Iligan-based company that he will transfer the ownership once the registration is done. But the transfer didn’t happen. He intended to sell the name to us 10 times more than the actual amount he paid and GGGFI refused to agree to his terms. As a result Yap made up stories to degrade their good reputation. Soon after he then sold the Pinakurat name to Nutri Asia.
Seeing this as a great opportunity to have their competitor bested the giant firm bought the trade name, allowing them to establish the brand as their own in the US. They did this as a preemptive measure since they already know that their chance of winning the case here in the Philippines is slim to none. To make things worse, Nutri Asia plans to roll out a set of products under the Pinakurat brand.
With this information disclosed, we can clearly see how a giant firm is depriving the smaller corporation of its well-deserved recognition in the condiments industry, trying to kill its local and international market and ultimately eliminate it from the competition. But we all know the truth now, Suka Pinakurat is the original brand and it will retain its name despite all this mess.