All government agencies such as the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) are directed to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in resolving disputes and cases. This is mandated by the ADR Act of 2004. In the IPOPHL the rules concerning mediation procedure are provided in Office Order No 154. This took effect on October 5 2010. Since then, all cases filed with the adjudication bureau of the IPOPHL, the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA), such as oppositions, cancellations, and intellectual property violations, are referred to mediation, after the answer has been filed. Since 2010, the office of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Services under the BLA, has settled an average of 1/3 of said referred cases, which has greatly lightened the backlog of undecided cases at the BLA. Under 154, the referral to mediation is mandatory, but the mediation itself is voluntary.
On May 5 2018, the IPOPHL released its proposed Revised Rules on Mediation and has encouraged the public to give its comments, with the objective of expediting the resolution of IP cases. The salient points of the Revised Rules are the following:
1) Mediation shall be mandatory for all cases, except for IP violation cases with applications for temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction.
2) Cases subject to mediation include: (i) administrative complaints for IP violations; (ii) inter partes cases; (iii) disputes involving technology transfer payments; (iv) disputes relating to the terms of a licence involving the author's right to public performance or other communication of his work; (v) appeals to the office of the director general.
3) Parties are directed to appear before the ADRS, with powers of attorney, if applicable.
4) The mediation proceedings shall be conducted within the IPOPHL offices, but the parties can request that mediation be conducted at other venues. However, all related expenses, shall be borne by the parties.
5) Failure to appear by any party during the mediation proceedings shall be a ground to dismiss the case.
The proposed revised rules maintain the current mediation fees.
|Editha R Hechanova|
Hechanova & Co., Inc.
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