Two weeks ago I wrote this post on MVP’s graduation speeches at Ateneo University where it seems several passages were plagiarized. As I wrote in that post, I thought MVP did the right things, taking full responsibility and earnestly apologizing for the transgression. He also resigned from the Board of Trustees, but a few days later the administration of the Ateneo voted NOT to accept his tendered resignation. I was surprised that an educational institution of Ateneo’s caliber and reputation would take such a position and I wasn’t the only one who felt that was a poor move… A day or two later, MVP has indeed insisted on stepping down (as I guessed he might in the comments of that original post) and the Ateneo administration is the one left looking like it has compromised its own principles and sense of right and wrong. MVP emerges relatively unscathed and Ateneo gets two thumbs down…
As for the Zubuchon logo-napping incident in this post here, if you haven’t had a chance to go back and read the comments section, then you would have missed these two comments from a reader who appears to be related to the owner or is in fact the owner of the “Ultimate Prito Experience” outlet that had used the pig logo of Zubuchon on a tarpaulin outside their future place of business in Alabang:
“lee domingo” commented:
“just to correct the problem with the logo we already did removed the logo of the pig. my only concern right now is that if the blog will continue saying bad writings against me and the name of our business. we already confide for a legal action about it. and just so they know the logo is not patented to anyone. before reacting to this matter a clear mind person should clarify things first b4 doin action. this will lead to serious matter that no one will like. and we are ready for that as for the owner of zubo chon. we will not make any public apology bcoz what he did to me on the this blog needs more apology. and i dont even know that this logo is existing here in the philippines. this is unintentional . and this site is being investigated by the NBI who ever made , write or even degrade my personality with out asking me first. and by the time i posted the tarp . NO ONE OWNED THE LOGO as per the GOV. AGENCY conformed . obviously he just patented the logo last APRIL 5, 2010. and iam not dying to claimed t hat i owned that logo. NO ONE knows me here SO NO one HAVE THE RIGHT TO WRITE ANY BAD THINGS ABOUT ME OR TO ANYONE MADE A MISTAKE THAT CAN BE CORRECTED WITH OUT LEADING TO THIS UNLIKELY TALKS. – iam willing to answer all your queries 09164690734. iam not a criminal for you to judge me and for me to rciv this kind of comments, MORE SHAME to those who dont know the real score and judging it by one side.”
followed immediately after by a second comment, also by “lee domingo”:
“for those who gave their comments here. you guys know whats the real score b4 saying things? hey if ur a diplomat person ask both side b4 creating talks… LOOK! WHEN did he registerd the LOGO? and i dont even know that this ZUBO CHON exist. once and for all. I DEMAND THAT THIS FORUM SHOULD BE DELETED. WE ARE READY FOR ANYTHING SHAME TO THOSE WHO JUDGE A PERSON WITH OUT CLARIFYING THINGS. bago kayo magsalita kung may pinag aralan kayo. mag tanong kayo ng maayos. kahit san lupalop kayo ng mundo kung manlalait kayo ng pagkatao. ask your self kung d kayo nagkakamali.”
First of all, let me keep this at the business level, meaning the issue is that the “Ultimate Prito Experience” (and presumably their owners, whom I cannot identify with certainty at this stage) stole/copied the Zubuchon logo for their own business logo, and I believe that is simply wrong. I think most people would agree with that view. It is wrong to copy the answers of your classmate on a school test. It is wrong to steal the wallet of a person even if they left it out in the open. It is wrong to copy someone’s biodata and represent it as your own when you did not go to the school’s in that biodata, or work in the positions outlined therein. So basically, stealing a logo is WRONG.
The two comments above are mind-numbingly ridiculous, in my personal opinion. And I (Marketman) did respond to them with this comment soon after they were posted:
“Lee, thank you for your comments. Zubuchon’s legal counsel/lawyer will call you at the number you gave (I am assuming you are the owner or related to the owner of Ultimate Prito Experience as opposed to someone who just posted a picture of the about to open business in Alabang). Thank you for taking down the logo of the pig.
However, it is clear from your comments that you do not seem to understand that what Ultimate Prito Experience did in copying a logo was wrong. Whoever prepared that logo (either internally or externally, such as a graphic designer at a print shop) apparently took it from Zubuchon, as it appears to be identical to the Zubuchon pig logo. Zubuchon the corporation was registered in the third quarter of 2009, the logo was developed in late October and early November 2009 with the use of professional graphic artists and advice from a top advertising agency. The logo was introduced to the public in mid-November via an announcement on this blog. It has been in use in Zubuchon’s materials since then. And yes, its official filing at the IPO office was done this year, however, it takes several weeks for a logo filing to be confirmed. Nevertheless, we developed the logo from scratch and have the detailed studies to prove it, therefore we have the rights to the logo, it has been in active use, and it is linked to a specific corporate entity duly registered with the SEC and DTI. When Ultimate Prito Experience used the same pig logo in its tarpaulin announcing the imminent opening of the business, it was essentially violating the intellectual property rights of Zubuchon and as the comments above indicate, most people would know and understand that taking such a logo/design without permission is simply wrong. I am not aware of who actually did take the Zubuchon pig logo, either a company designer, owner or third party graphic designer, but it was still apparently taken from another source rather than an original design. If you had a contact number on your tarpaulin displayed at the soon to open store, I would have definitely had our lawyers contact you directly. Now that you have provided your number in your comment, I will have the lawyer phone you when he gets back to his office.
If you were not the one who developed the logo, I am sure our lawyers will be interested to know who did in fact “create” the Ultimate Prito Experience logo.”
Zubuchon’s legal counsel was finally able to reach “lee domingo” after several attempts, and while he confirmed that the tarpaulin has been taken down, his major concern was whether he was going to be sued or not. And he reiterated some of the points raised in his two comments above. Before a complete discussion could be concluded, the line was cut off and the conversation left at that. Basically, the logo has been removed, but no apology is forthcoming. So let me conclude this matter by stating the following, for the benefit of “lee domingo” and any other future logo-napper wannabees:
Intentionally stealing another company’s logo is wrong. I hope UPE realizes that now. And claiming innocence/ignorance that the logo was a Philippine one or that it was not patented or registered is simply absurd, since UPE was in a position to tell from where it OBTAINED the design for the logo to begin with, and stealing locally or internationally is just that, stealing. UPE should have taken a lesson from MVP up above by owning up to their mistake, acknowledging that it was wrong and offering an earnest apology. UPE is lucky that pursuing lawsuits in this country is more than slightly troublesome and costly, so at least in this instance UPE has escaped the potential headaches that would accompany such a lawsuit. However, if they had insisted on continuing to use the Zubuchon pig logo, I can assure you Zubuchon would sue for damages without hesitation.
As for the logic, rationale, content and style of the comments above, I leave that to the overall readership of this blog to read for themselves. I will add, however, that I did look up what appears to be the commenter’s friendster account, where they had quickly removed a photo of the UPE tarpaulin with the copied logo, and since they posted FOR PUBLIC VIEWING their personal details (I have printed them for the lawyers files), here are some other thoughts… A person claiming to go to one school when they did NOT actually attend that school is lying. If such educational credentials are misrepresented in actual job applications, that would be a more serious offense, and justified cause for dismissal. So if one LISTS that they have attended the “university of columbia NY” then I hope they actually did at least attend the said school. And since it’s just the commenter’s rotten luck that I DID actually attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and I have restricted on-line access to the university’s list of esteemed alumni, I can tell you there is no listed alumnus by the name in that friendster account, either undergraduate college or graduate school. But then again, I would have expected most folks who managed to gain acceptance to Columbia University to know the difference between right and wrong with respect to stealing a corporate logo. And that they would be able to frame a blog comment in reasonably straight English and/or their native language. And that they would know the school is called “Columbia University” and not “university of columbia NY”. I would also hope they would have learned to admit when they were wrong (and especially when caught red-handed) and offer a genuine apology.
Lastly, I do not appreciate the commenter’s blatant threat/comment about having this blog investigated by the NBI as I know I did not do anything wrong by writing a post that exposed the apparent theft of Zubuchon’s pig logo. As our lawyers and perhaps the commenter’s lawyers may have explained, it is UPE that was clearly in the wrong. But since the commenter now has our lawyer’s telephone number, the NBI investigators can easily contact us directly, and we would cooperate fully in any such an investigation. So since government agencies seem to command some respect in the commenter’s realm, let me remind the commenter that before UPE ever opens its doors to the public to sell its first piece of fried liempo or bangus, I hope UPE will have ALL of its legal paperwork in place. That registrations with the proper government authorities are all completed (business permits, mayor’s licenses, TIN, etc.). That their premises have been inspected by the agencies that oversee food businesses and you meet their stringent requirements for hygiene, etc. That all your employees handling food have passed medical examinations and undergone exams for parasites, tuberculosis, etc. That the business is duly registered with the BIR. That they have official receipts printed from the minute that you open for business, tax identification numbers, etc. That they pay legal wages, all required employee benefits, etc. Yes, all of those are NECESSARY if you don’t want to be in violation of the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. So good luck with your new business venture, Marketman and marketmanila.com readers and Zubuchon fans from near and far will be keeping a wary eye on UPE from the day it opens for business.
Note: To MM readers and commenters, I will leave the comments section of this post open, but I ask you to be circumspect in your comments, focusing only on the issues at hand, not the individual personalities involved. I am traveling today and will have limited access to the internet. Many thanks. :)