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Philippines: Rules on inter partes proceedings are amended

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has just issued Memorandum Circular No. 2019-024 entitled Amendments to the Rules and Regulations on Inter Partes Proceedings, which will take effect on February 15 2020. Its objective is to provide speedy, quality and effective legal remedies to resolve IP disputes. The major amendments are as follows:

Modes of service

Added to the current modes of service which are by registered mail and personally, is courier services. This will apply to filings done by the parties as well as delivery of decisions, final orders and other processes as issued by the IPOPHL.

Refusal to receive notices

If a party refuses to receive the notice to answer or other orders, or has moved out of the address without informing the Bureau of Legal Affairs (Bureau) of its new address, the Bureau shall post the notice or orders on the IPOPHL website, and the compliance of the concerned party shall be presumed from the date of such a posting.

Filing requirements for oppositions and cancellations

Aside from submitting the opposition or petition in writing, this submission must be accompanied by word files of all pleadings together with the pdf files of all supporting documents as stored in a flash drive. For failure to comply with this requirement, the Bureau can reject it within 15 days from receipt and the concerned party shall be given five days to cure said defect.

Apostilled documents

Documents executed outside the Philippines must be apostilled or authenticated by the Philippine Consulate Office.

Assignment of cases

If the respondent is in default, or the case is not resolved through ADR, the Bureau director or in his absence the assistant director shall assign or raffle the case to the adjudication officer.

Authority given to assistant BLA director

The amended rules specifically provide authority to the assistant BLA director to dismiss cases arising from failure of the concerned party to complete or cure defects, such as failure to attach to the opposition or petition the originals of the following documents: verification, certification of non-forum shopping, power of attorney. However, this dismissal can be appealed to the director.

Editha R Hechanova

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