The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) recently made permanent all process and system upgrades in adjudicating cases, seeing how they proved effective in streamlining processes and ensuring the convenience and safety of stakeholders.
The move was made effective through Memorandum Circular (MC) 2022-013, which amended the Rules and Regulations on Inter Partes Proceedings.
“The adoption of electronic measures—which was part of our BRIGHT Agenda for an end-to-end automated or digitized process—was a lifesaver for our stakeholders during the pandemic as these ensured continued access to and delivery of our services, including adjudication and alternative dispute resolution of our Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA),” said Director General Rowel S. Barba.
These measures include the use of e-Filing, online payment of fees, the conduct of online or virtual hearings and conferences and e-service of notices, interlocutory orders, decisions and final orders.
“These measures are now a permanent fixture of our IP adjudication process. This means that adjudication can be initiated via email, hearings done online and the final decision served via email,” Barba added.
Aside from deploying most of its services online, the MC reduces the number of motions for extension to file opposition from three to one and the total number of days from 120 to 45, shortening the adjudication process period.
The MC also relaxes the rules on the submission of formal and documentary requirements by allowing digitized copies to be sent first and the original, authenticated documents to be sent later, particularly during the period of inspection and comparison of documents and evidence.
“This guidance will be particularly useful for those parties abroad who need to file and authenticate their documents through the Philippines’ diplomatic or consulate offices,” BLA Director Nathaniel S. Arevalo said.
“The amendments fulfill our long-term desire to streamline and modernize IP adjudication and dispute resolution. The Covid-19 pandemic and the BRIGHT Agenda of DG Barba spurred our efforts to fast-track this endeavor which started in 2014. 2020 and 2021 gave us the opportunity to successfully pilot test the measures,” Arevalo said.