6 August 2019TrademarksSaman Javed

Philippines IPO requests more courts handle IP cases

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has asked the country’s Supreme Court to assign more IP related cases to regional trial courts.

It also asked the court to give additional special commercial courts (SCCs) the power to issue search warrants in relation to such cases.

On Monday, August 5, the office said changes will ease crowding dockets and bring faster resolution to pending IP cases to deal with an increasing number of IP violations in the country, particularly trademark infringements.

According to the announcement, current SCCs are spread across one metropolitan area of the Philippines, namely Metro Manila.

Josephine Santiago, the director-general of the IPOPHL, said the addition of SCCs in Metro Visayas, Metro Mindanao and Metro Northern Luzon will “bolster the Philippines' standing in the areas of rule of law and administration of justice and will be beneficial, as this will serve a greater number of stakeholders”.

The move comes amid increasing IP cases in the country, relating particularly to trademark infringement. The number of IP cases rose to 715 in 2018, up from 669 in 2017.

The IPOPHL also asked the court to consider the designation of select regional trial courts to specialise in and focus solely on IP.

As present, IP cases are lodged with regional trial courts which handle all commercial cases.

IPOPHL said that SCCs are also docketed with drug-related cases which have also significantly risen in volume in recent years.

The IPOPHL said it would also be submitting a report to the court which shows how other countries which have established courts to focus specifically on IP cases have benefited from declogged dockets.

"The recommendation to revise the rules was based on several consultations with the SCC judges, intellectual property stakeholders, and organisations to address some gaps and to further streamline the procedure," Santiago added.

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