Caritas Manila wins complaint against health provider with similar name

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided in favor of Caritas Manila against Caritas Health Shield, Inc. due to the latter’s deceptively similar name.

This after Caritas Manila, Inc., the lead social services and development ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila filed a complaint against Caritas Health Shield, Inc., a health care services provider, and asked SEC to order the latter change or modify its corporate name by deleting the word “Caritas”.

SEC’s Office of the General Counsel, in its decision, acknowledged that Caritas Manila has the prior right over the name “Caritas” because it was incorporated on May 3, 1977 which is 18 years earlier than the incorporation of Caritas Health Shield Inc. on April 25, 1995. Also, it has been proven that the latter is confusingly similar with the corporate name of the complainant, based on the evidence presented by Caritas Manila.

The SEC Office of the General Counsel then ordered Caritas Health Shield Inc. to change its corporate name by omitting the word “Caritas”.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Respondent CARITAS HEALTH SHIELD, INC. is hereby ordered to CHANGE its corporate name by removing the word “CARITAS”, or otherwise adopt another name through an amendment of its Articles of Incorporation, and filing the same with this Commission within thirty (30) days from date of receipt hereof. It is further directed to submit a compliance report within the same period, enclosing therein a certified copy of the approved Articles of incorporation.

Caritas Manila argued that the similarity of their dominant name which is “Caritas” has led to public confusion that they are in anyway connected to the health care provider. For instance, the charitable institution has been receiving complaints of spam text messages, mistaken emails and newspaper articles.

Caritas Manila also claimed that Caritas Health Shield Inc. violated Section 18 of the Corporation Code arguing that the use of the said name infringes its trade name. Furthermore, it emphasizes that the unlawful use of the word “Caritas” for medical health services has damaged its public image as a non-profit charitable institution.

Caritas Manila Executive Director Rev. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual said he is pleased by the favorable decision of the Security and Exchange Commission.

“We welcome this development. It cleared the name and reputation of Caritas Manila and so, the donors and most especially the people that we support will no longer be confused,” Fr. Pascual said.

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