Universal Mills Inc v. Universal Textile Mills Co. – G.R. No. L-28351, July 28, 1977

Universal Textile Mills Inc,(Appellant-respondent) register on December 29, 1953 appealed to the Securities and Exchange Commission ask it to enjoin Universal Mills Corporation(Appellee-Petitioner) registered October 27, 1954, originally named Universal Hosiery Mills Corporation change to the former in June 10, 1963. The immediate cause of this present complaint, however, was the occurrence of a fire which gutted respondent’s spinning mills in Pasig, Rizal. Petitioner alleged that as a result of this fire and because of the similarity of respondent’s name to that of herein complainant, the news items appearing in the various metropolitan newspapers carrying reports on the fire created uncertainty and confusion among its bankers, friends, stockholders and customers prompting petitioner to make announcements, clarifying the real Identity of the corporation whose property was burned. Petitioner presented documentary and testimonial evidence in support of this allegation.

The SEC ruled that the similarity of the two names those constitute confusing, rendered a decision, enjoining the petitioner in using its corporate name. Hence, the Petitioner went to the SC to raise the issue below.

whether the order of the Commission enjoining petitioner to its corporate name constitutes, in the light of the circumstances found by the Commission, a grave abuse of discretion.

No. it cannot be said that the impugned order is arbitrary and capricious. Clearly, it has rational basis. The corporate names in question are not Identical, but they are indisputably so similar that even under the test of “reasonable care and observation as the public generally are capable of using and may be expected to exercise” invoked by appellant, SC were apprehensive confusion will usually arise, considering that under the second amendment of its articles of incorporation on August 14, 1964, appellant included among its primary purposes the “manufacturing, dyeing, finishing and selling of fabrics of all kinds” in which respondent had been engaged for more than a decade ahead of petitioner. Factually, the Commission found existence of such confusion, and there is evidence to support its conclusion.

It is obvious that the matter at issue is within the competence of the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve in the first instance in the exercise of the jurisdiction it used to possess under Commonwealth Act 287 as amended by Republic Act 1055 to administer the application and enforcement of all laws affecting domestic corporations and associations, reserving to the courts only conflicts of judicial nature, and, of course, the Supreme Court’s authority to review the Commissions actuations in appropriate instances involving possible denial of due process and grave abuse of discretion.

It does not matter that the instance of confusion between the two corporate names was occasioned only by a fire or an extraordinary occurrence. It is precisely the duty of this Commission to prevent such confusion at all times and under all circumstances not only for the purpose of protecting the corporations involved but more so for the protection of the public.


One thought on “Universal Mills Inc v. Universal Textile Mills Co. – G.R. No. L-28351, July 28, 1977

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