The San Miguel Corporation (SMC) was founded in 1890 and is one of the Philippines’ most diversified conglomerates, with a workforce of over 15,000 generating close to three percent of the country’s gross national product. The company is perhaps best known for San Miguel Beer, its flagship product, which is among the top ten beer brands in the world.
One of San Miguel’s better known brands is Magnolia, its dairy product subsidiary. From its start in 1925, Magnolia branded ice cream was one of the most recognizable and enduring brands in the Philippines and holds the distinction of being the oldest branded ice cream in Asia.
The American company RAMAR started using the Magnolia brand identity in the 1970s without any permission from San Miguel. RAMAR was also able to register the Magnolia trademark for ice cream, without authorization from San Miguel… In fact, RAMAR formally objected to San Miguel’s application to register Magnolia in the United States… Furthermore, not satisfied with the ice cream, RAMAR has been trying to prevent SMC from selling Magnolia-branded cheese, margarine and butter in the United States.
Despite the fact that San Miguel Philippines created the Magnolia Ice Cream brand in the 1920s, SMC is prohibited from selling its Pinoy ice cream in the USA under the Magnolia name. Why? Because the Quesada family (Ramar company) trademarked the Magnolia logo for their own exclusive use!!
A company in the United States has been marking their own ice-cream products with the “Magnolia” name, using San Miguel’s iconic oval logo. That company Ramar has no affiliation with San Miguel Philippines. Even today, many Filipino Americans assume that the Magnolia ice-cream they eat in the USA is related to the Magnolia in the Philippines. It is not.