The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) issued Memorandum Circular No. 2019-006 on the Rules of Procedure for IPOPHL Mediation Outside of Litigation, extending its mediation services outside of litigation, effective from September 2 2019. Before this circular, the parties went through mediation only after the filing of the verified answer, and this applied to inter partes cases such as oppositions and cancellations, and IP violation cases, e.g. infringement, unfair competition etc. Mediation of IP cases was introduced by the IPOPHL in 2011, and as of the end of 2018, the average settlement rate is 41.4%, indicating that mediation is an effective mode of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for IP cases. There is no doubt that mediation is a more economic and quicker way of resolving disputes in comparison with litigation which could take over three years just at the first level and if appeals are to be considered, could last over 10 years. The new rules give potential disputants an avenue to resolve their conflict even before an actual suit is filed.
The salient points of the new rules are:
1) The parties may file a request for mediation with the IPOPHL Bureau of Legal Affairs ADR Service (BLA-ADRS), which must be signed by both parties stating their contact details.
2) Each party must pay a filing fee of PHP7,575.00 (about US$149) equivalent to eight mediation sessions of one hour each.
3) The parties themselves must appear, or if by their representative, must present a Special Power of Attorney.
4) The proceedings shall be conducted within the IPOPHL offices, or in some other locations, as requested by the parties.
5) The mediation proceedings are private and confidential, except as to the fact of their happening.
6) If enforcement of the settlement agreement becomes necessary, a petition may be filed to the court under RA 9285.
7) Should mediation fail, the parties are not precluded from bringing an action before the IPOPHL or competent judicial or administrative body.
|Editha R Hechanova
Hechanova & Co., Inc.
Salustiana D. Ty Tower
104 Paseo de Roxas Avenue
Makati City 1229, Philippines
Tel: (63) 2 812-6561
Fax: (63) 2 888-4290