Manila, PHILIPPINES: Ensuring effective intellectual property (IP) enforcement and adjudication of cases will be the main focus at the 4th Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit on 20 October at a hotel in Pasay City. The event will gather the country’s top local IP experts and some foreign luminaries.
The Summit has adopted the theme “Strengthening Intellectual Property Enforcement and Adjudication in the 21st Century.” The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the lead organizer of the Summit, takes into consideration the importance of putting in place an effective IP enforcement and a just and efficient adjudication system in the country.
“We aim to make the IP system work better and faster for our IP right holders. The continuing push to improve IP enforcement and adjudication in the country is aligned with our bigger objective of having a demystified, democratized, and a development-oriented IP system,” says IPOPHL Director General Atty. Ricardo R. Blancaflor.
Already, the IPOPHL has set in place policies and measures to make it easier for IP right owners to enforce their rights. These include the continuing capacity-building programs in the judiciary that are rolled out in partnership with government and private stakeholders such as the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and the Supreme Court. The seminars and workshops aim to enhance the skills of commercial court judges, prosecutors and investigators and clerk of courts in handling IP cases. There are already designated commercial courts for the speedy disposition of cases involving violations of IP rights.
At the IPOPHL, mechanisms for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) have already been established. The IPOPHL-assisted mediation and arbitration programs, which began in February 2011, have gained acceptance among private stakeholders as an alternative way to settle IP disputes.
Furthermore, the signing into law in 2013 of Republic Act No. 10372, or the Act Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No 8293 Otherwise Known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, has strengthened the IP enforcement framework. The new law created the IPR Enforcement Office at the IPOPHL whose mandate is to assist in providing additional administrative recourse to rights holders in running after the infringers from sending notices, warnings, visits, filing of other administrative cases, and assistance in the application and implementation of search warrants, inspection orders issued by Optical Media Board (OMB) and Mission Orders issued by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Confirmed speakers at this year’s Summit are Justice Diosdado M. Peralta of the Supreme Court of the Philippines; Atty. Jean-Pierre Maeder of Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Atty. Brian Law Yee Foo of the International Trademark Association (INTA); Presiding Judge Jack H.C. Wang and Division Chief Judge Huei-Ju (Grace) Tsai of the Intellectual Property Court of Taiwan; Ms. Luisa Irely Aquique-Pineda, Director of IP Enforcement at the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property; Judge Bernice Donald of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; and Mr. Peter Fowler, Regional IP Attache for Southeast Asia at the US Patent Office.
The Summit will also see the recognition of the latest batch of IP Champions and the Induction of the 2nd Batch of IPOPHL IP Young Advocates. The IP Champions are recognized for their notable contributions in improving the IPR protection environment in the country. The IP Young Advocates program of the IPOPHL, meanwhile, seeks to introduce IP to selected high school students in the country -- a way of involving the youth in the promotion and protection of IP.
The Philippines observes the IP Month in October. Aside from the IP Summit, the IPOPHL will also organize a National Seminar on Trademarks and Designs (16-17 October), IP Rights Week (20-24 October), ASEAN Regional Workshop on IP Enforcement - Building Respect for IP (21 October), ASEAN – USPTO Roundtable Discussion for Judiciary (21-22 October), Focus Group Discussion/Roundtable (Prosecutors) (23-24 October), and National Workshop on Counterfeiting Piracy and Border Control (28-29 October).