To avoid repeating the sad tale of “Manila Mangoes” that transpired years ago, the provincial government of Guimaras has secured the trademark registration of its mangoes with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
It can be recalled that in 2005, the Mexican government tried to brand their mango exports to the US as “Manila Mangoes,” arguing that the seedlings came from Manila via the galleon trade during the Spanish era.
But the Philippine government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), objected to the move of the Mexicans as it argued that the mangoes did not really come from Manila and were in fact grown in Mexico.
But the controversy, which put a kink in the trade relations between the two countries, was somehow resolved in favor of Mexico, which contended that like “French Fries” and “Bangkok Santol,” Manila cannot lay claim to a product based merely geographic origin. In the end, real mangoes from the Philippines that were exported to the US were branded as “Philippine Supermangoes.”
With this perhaps in mind, the provincial government of Guimaras – known for its sweet and luscious mangoes – applied and was grated trademark for Guimaras Mangoes. The IPOPHL is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty that allows patent applicants to file a single application in one intellectual property office and seek protection in multiple countries.
Leny B. Raz, director of the Bureau of Trademarks at IPOPHL, presented the Certificate of Registration of the Collective Trademark to the Province of Guimaras and the Guimaras Mango Growers and Producers Development Cooperative (GMGPDC) during the inauguration and opening ceremonies of the 25th Manggahan Festival last May 11 at Jordan, Guimaras.
The unveiling of the Guimaras Quality Seal was graced by the DTI regional director OIC Rebecca M. Rascon, Guimaras governor Samuel T. Gumarin, Guimaras vice governor John Edward Gando, Intellectual Property Satellite Office (IPSO) – Iloilo Field Operations specialist Marianne Tajanlangit-Bebit and various Guimaras provincial officials and staff.
GMGPDC, represented by its chairperson Rosario Griesser, sought the registration of the quality mark in order to protect the specific qualities and reputation of Guimaras mangoes.
The cooperative’s officers and members together with the Provincial Economic Development Office chaired by Elena V. Quezon and the Provincial Office of Agricultural Services as supervised by Ronnie Morante, have undergone various training and seminars under IPOPHL and came up with the Code of Practice that will guide the members in maintaining the excellent quality of the mangoes produced in the province.
It will also serve as their standard of practice in safeguarding its reputation of having the sweetest and excellent export-quality fresh mangoes in the country.