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APAA Auckland 2017

April 20, 2018
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Summary of Reports presented during the 2017 APAA conference in Auckland New Zealand
The Philippines, through our own esteemed practitioners in the field, presented to the audience of the 2017 New Zealand Conference of Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA) developments in the field of intellectual property law.

On Copyright Laws
Presented by
Atty. Bienvenido I. Somera, Jr. and Atty. Dino Vivencio A. Tamayo
Copyright Committee

With regard to copyright laws, no new jurisprudence has been promulgated by the Court since the last conference in Bali, Indonesia. Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation No. 190 on 4 April 2017 which declares the month of April every year as “National Intellectual Property Month”. The event was moved from October to April in order to align the country’s programs and activities with major IP celebrations such as the World Book and Copyright Day and the World Intellectual Property Day.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHIL), on the other hand, with the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), issued Joint IPOPHIL-NCIP Administrative Order No. 01 series of 2016 (Rules and Regulations on Intellectual Property Rights Application and Registration Protecting the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (‘IKSP’) of the Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Cultural Communities" - the “IKSP Rules”, for brevity). The IKSP Rules provided for, among others, the mechanisms for examination and registration of IP rights that use the IKSP of indigenous people and indigenous cultural communities.

Moreover, the IPOPHIL remains steadfast in their undertaking to improve understanding of the intellectual property rights in the Philippines through various seminars, workshops and other educational activities.

As deputized by the National Library in receiving registration and deposit of copyrighted works, the IPOPHIL, since January 2011, has received 4,341 copyright filings which in turn translated to 4,008 copyright registrations. For the year 2016, there were 919 filings and 891 registrations, while in 2017, there were 600 filings and 417 registrations.

On the part of the Legislature, no new law has been passed pertaining to copyright as of yet. Nevertheless, the following bills on copyright promotion and protection are presently pending in Congress: 1) Senate Bill No. 1104; House Bill No. 6303 - Requiring the Teaching of Intellectual Property Ownership Particularly Copyright Law as part of the Curriculum of all Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Schools in the Country; and 2) House Bill No. 751 - Mandating Contractual Pre-Requisites for the Transfer or Assignment of Copyright, for the Benefit of the Original Authors.

In the international level, there exists major developments which could influence the legal obligations and framework of domestic intellectual property laws in the Philippines. Firstly, The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (“Marrakesh Treaty”) was adopted on 28 June 2013 and entered into force on 30 September 2016. TheTreaty aims to enhance the literacy of the blind, visually-impaired and print disabled persons by improving their access to published works created for said group of persons. Additionally, The Philippines is currently negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (“RCEP”) with fellow member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) and with ASEAN trading partners China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand. RCEP is envisioned to create one of the world’s largest free trade areas, through a comprehensive trade agreement covering trade in goods, services, investment, and competition policy, among others. RCEP includes a chapter on Intellectual Property, including copyright.

On Designs
Presented by
Atty. Eduardo C. Escaño and Atty. Richmond K. Lee
Designs Committee

The Congress has not passed any new law pertaining to designs. The IPOPHIL, however, has amended the existing implementing regulations for patents, utility models and industrial designs (Memorandum Circular No. 17-013). Particularly, while the old rules required the full payment of the filing fee including the publication fee within a month after the filing date of the application for an industrial design registration, the new rules allow the applicant to choose if it will pay the publication fee together with the filing fee within the period of one (1) month after the filing of the application or if it will pay the publication fee only after completion of the formality examination and within one (1) month from the mailing date of the notice to pay. Moreover, as regards the Certificate of Registration, the new rules provide that a digitally signed Certificate of Registration shall have the same legal effect as a traditionally signed certificate. The IPOPHIL, moreover, has implemented an online filing system where the applicants may submit their application and pay for the fees without physically going to the office.

There are no new cases decided by the Philippine Supreme Court or the Director General of the IPO which particularly pertain to designs. Meanwhile, the Adjudication Officers of the Bureau of Legal Affairs (“BLA”) of the IPO rendered at least three (3) decisions relating to designs. Namely, 1) JS Unitrade Merchandize, Inc. v. Megasoft Hygenic Products, Inc., IPC No. 13-2014-00097, BLA Decision No. 17-92, 27 March 2017; 2) Yan Yan International Philippines v. Wilson Dy Go, IPC No. 12-2013-0080 BLA Decision No. 17-35, 10 February 2017; and 3) KPI Manufacturing, Inc. v. Alwin T. Go, IPC No. 13-2015-00545, BLA Decision No. 17-11, 18 January 2017.

With regard to filing statistics, as of June 2017, five hundred seventy-six (576) applications for registration of industrial designs have been filed for the year. Out of the said number, three hundred forty-two (342) were filed by non-residents while two hundred eighty-two (282) have been filed by residents. Meanwhile, as of June 2017, six hundred forty-six (646) industrial design applications were successfully registered for the year. Out of the said number, two hundred twenty-eight (228) were registered under the names of non-residents while four hundred eighteen (418) were registered under the names of residents. As of August 2017, the average turn-around time (“TAT”) between filing and registration of industrial design applications for the year is 5.61 months for foreign applications and 8.92 months for local applications.

For the year 2016, local applicants had the most number of applications for registration of industrial design numbering one thousand forty-three (1,043) and constituting 69.86% of the one thousand four hundred ninety-three (1,493) total filings. The Philippines was followed by Japan and the United States of America (“U.S.”), which filed one hundred forty-one (141) and one hundred twenty-six (126) applications, respectively. Filings by Japan and the U.S. constitute 9.44% and 8.44% of the total filings, respectively. Other top countries of origin for industrial design in 2016 include Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Peoples’ Republic of China, Switzerland, and Thailand.

For the year 2016, Xu Min Xu of the Philippines had the most number of filings of application for registration of industrial design with seventy-six (76) applications. Other top applicants for registration of industrial design in 2016 include Honda Motor Co., Ltd., of Japan, Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc., Jeannie L. Lugmoc, Design Center of the Philippines, Margarito G. Kish, HBW Enterprises Co., Cely Gabaldon-Co, Ronald Talion, Edward Yu Uy, and Sinski Motorcycle Phils., Inc., all of whom are from the Philippines.

On Enforcement

The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293) is the principal legislation which outlines the procedure in prosecuting claims in violation of the intellectual property rights of the people. Acts which are subject to prosecution includes 1) copyright infringement (Sec. 155); 2) Unfair Competition (Sec. 168); 3) False Designations of Origin, False Description and Representation (Sec. 169.1); and “piracy” (RA 8792), among others.

The NCIPR, represented by members from the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Customs (BOC), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Optical Media Board (OMB), National Book Development Board, Bureau of Food and Drugs and the Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crimes, is the primary agency tasked for the enforcement of intellectual property laws.

In the year 2016, the NCIPR has seized counterfeit items with an estimated value of Php 6,519,376,647.00. Php 1,607,647,172.00 coming from NBI operations, Php 77,229,227.00, coming from PNP operations, Php 1,049,841,870.00, coming from OMB operations, Php 1,784,213,600.00, from confiscated goods by the BOC, Php 444,778.00 from the FDA and an estimated Php 2,000,000,000.00 from joint operations. In the first half of 2017 (January to June), an estimated value of Php 1,441,782,729.00.

Presented by
Atty. Llewellyn L. Llanillo and Engr. Mari-len Montoya-Capisanan
Patent Committee

The Philippines has seen a significant increase in the Utility Model filings (41.52%) and Industrial Design applications (37.24%) last 2016. With this development, registrations for Utility Model and Industrial Design also increased by 11.32% and 8.52%, respectively. In the same year, however, the filings for Invention Patent decreased by 7.25% which resulted to the corresponding decline of Invention Patent grants by 1.48%.

In 2017, the Law on Patents has not been changed by any law or amendment - only two memorandum circulars were issued related to patents. MC No. 17-006 extended the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program between the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) for another two years, or until April 20, 2019. The objective is to further assess the feasibility of the PPH Pilot Program between the two offices and allow applicants more time to obtain patents faster and more efficiently. Another PPH Pilot Program also took effect on July 1, 2017 by virtue of MC No. 17-007, this time between IPOPHL and the European Intellectual Property Office (EPO). It replicates the participation conditions and requirements currently applied in PPH Programs operational worldwide with an initial period of three years, or until June 30, 2020.

Also, last year, one case decided by the Supreme Court in E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Co. v. Director Francisco (G.R. No. 174379, August 31, 2016) is particularly interesting to patents. The Court ruled that one of the considerations in denying a belated filing of a Petition for Revival is public interest (i.e. Filipinos’ access to affordable medicine). It argued that to grant the patent despite the inexcusable negligence of the applicant in failing to prosecute the application for 13 years may result in the loss of competition in the local pharmaceutical market and hinder public access to cheaper medicines. Thus, for the protection of public interest, the Court denied the patent application of E.I. Dupont Nemours.


Updates on Emerging Intellectual Property Rights in the Philippines

Presented by:
Atty. Abelaine T. Alcantara and Atty. Maria Teresa Trinidad

The following updates cover the period from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017:
  1. Changes in Emerging IP Laws

    1. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Data Privacy Act require the registration with the National Privacy Commission of all Data Protection Officers by September 9, 2017, and all private sectors’ data processing systems by March 8, 2018.

    2. The Philippine Competition Act provides a 2-year transition period until August 8, 2017 to allow affected parties to renegotiate or restructure their business to comply with this law. This law repealed Section 25 of the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act which prohibits (i.) agreements protecting intellectual property rights, confidential information, or trade secrets, and (ii.) agreements on franchising and licensing which give each party the right to unilaterally terminate the agreement.

    3. The Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) issued Memorandum No. 2017-001 which regulates research involving indigenous peoples/indigenous cultural communities consistent with the latter’s right to maintain, control, protect, and develop their intellectual property over their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

    4. The Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) called for proposals that contribute to the following research priorities: (i.) documentation of cultural heritage on Philippine traditional medicine represented by 185 ethno linguistic groups including 110 indigenous groups; (ii.) research and development on safety, efficacy/benefit, and quality of natural products; and (iii.) clinical research on the safety and efficacy/benefit of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) modalities such as hilot.

  2. Proposed Pieces of Legislation

    To implement the Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) which Philippines has entered into on September 28, 2006, there is a draft Executive Order pending the approval of the Office of the President which includes the following relevant provisions: (i.) farmers’ rights on the protection of traditional knowledge and indigenous knowledge systems; (ii.) technology transfer and development; (iii.) local access to genetic material; (iv.) access and benefit sharing system; and (v.) disclosure of country of origin, and prohibition against patenting.

  3. Updates on Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Genetic Resources, and Geographical Indications

    1. On Traditional Knowledge

      • The Institute of Herbal Medicine of UP Manila organized the first herbal medicine summit in the country wherein different stakeholders discussed how they can work together to ensure the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines.

      • The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and Filipino scientists led the inauguration of the Sentrong Katutubong Yaman (Sekaya) Research and Development Plant which was envisioned to become a center for collaborative research for local medicinal plants.

    2. On Traditional Cultural Expression

      • In the 34th session of the WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Folklore (IGC), a next draft of an international legal instrument on intellectual property and traditional cultural expressions was developed.

      • “Mindanao Tapestry” showcased the talents of Filipinos through fashion, music, and dance and recognized the artistry of the region’s indigenous communities and weavers.

      • The exhibit “Hibla ng Lahing Pilipino”, which was graced by no other than Queen Sofia of Spain, highlighted the distinct creativity of the Filipino people through fabric. Another indigenous textiles exhibit “Dayaw” also showcased handcrafted products made by indigenous communities.

    3. On Genetic Resources

      • The DOST undertook a research entitled “Restoring Crop Diversity at the National Germplasm Repository” to address the challenges of climate change by ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of plant-genetic resources for food and agriculture. One of the major outputs of the program is the development of the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory (NPGRL) Database Management System.

      • The Digital Genebank was established to supplement the International Rice Genebank (IRG) of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, which has a record of holding the largest and most diverse rice germplasm in the world.

      • A group of scientists from China led by world-renowned hybrid rice breeder Hua’an Xie visited the IRRI to explore areas of possible cooperation and help IRRI gain access to China-developed rice technologies as well as funds for international collaboration and training.

      • The Heirloom Rice Project was formed to preserve the indigenous knowledge of rice cultivation in the Philippines and the biodiversity of unique heirloom rice varities.

      • The PCHRD held the Health Forum 2016 to discuss the developments in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), drug discovery and development, genomics, and nutrition.

      • The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) presented key findings during the 47th Annual Convention of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) of a project of the PCHRD that aims to determine the candidate genetic variations which are associated with effective drug response and/or adverse drug effects during medications for the treatment of hypertension, dyslipidemia, and coronary disease.

    4. On Geographical Indications

      • The IPO granted collective trademark registration to “T’nalak Tau Sebu” or “Lake Sebu T’nalak”, referring to T’nalak hand woven by the people of Lake Sebu. These terms are also reserved, as are their equivalent in any translation.

      • The sweet mangoes of Guimaras have now a geographical branding. The Geographical Indication (GI) tag certifies that the mangoes are grown and produced by members of Guimaras Mango Growers and Producers Development Cooperative.

  4. Other Updates

    1. The IPO launched National Intellectual Property Strategy (NIPS) Project to craft strategic approaches to address issues and concerns that hinder Filipinos from benefitting fully from the IP System.

    2. The ASEAN Economic Cooperation 2025 Consolidated Strategic Action Plan (CSAP) provides that the ASEAN Working Group of Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) should promote: (i.) the commercialization of geographical indications in ASEAN; and (ii.) protection mechanism for genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

    3. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in its 13th biennial meeting discussed the following topics: (i.) Synthetic Biology which combines science, technology, and engineering to facilitate understanding of genetic materials; (ii.) Gene Drives which permits the inheriting of a desired trait at a higher rate and with greater certainty; (iii.) Digital Sequence Information which is the data on genetic sequences; and (iv.) Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism which concerns the issue on biopiracy.
During the 2018 General Membership Meeting held last January 31, 2018 at the IPAP office, the following persons were re-elected as members of the IPAP Board of Trustees:


Arturo T. Del Rosario, Jr.

Alonzo Q. Ancheta
Antonio Audie Z. Bucoy
Katrina V. Doble
Rico V. Domingo
Alex Ferdinand S. Fider
Pablo M. Gancayco
Lorna Patajo-Kapunan
Enrique T. Manuel
Augusto S. San Pedro
Joaquin V. Sayoc
C. Risel G. Castillo-Taleon
Dino Vivencio A. Tamayo
Maria Trinidad P. Villareal
Carlos Paulo M. Villaruz
The election of the executive officers followed during the organizational meeting last February 22, 2018 at the Del Rosario Law Building in BGC, Taguig:


President Enrique T. Manuel
Vice President (Internal) Maria Trinidad P. Villareal
Vice President (External) Alex Ferdinand S. Fider
Treasurer C. Risel G. Castillo-Taleon
Assistant Treasurer Maria Teresa M. Trinidad
Secretary Abelaine T. Alcantara
Assistant Secretary Dennis R. Gorecho
Assistant Secretary Katrina V. Doble
Auditor Augusto S. San Pedro
Protocol Officer Dino Vivencio A. Tamayo
IPAP Committees

Membership Committee
Abelaine T. Alcantara

Programs Committee
Katrina V. Doble
Maria Teresa M. Trinidad

Legislation and Liaison Committee
Maria Trinidad P. Villareal
Dino Vivencio A Tamayo

Finance Committee
C. Risel G. Castillo-Taleon
Maria Teresa M. Trinidad
Augusto S. San Pedro

Disciplinary Committee:
Llewellyn L. Llanillo
Rico V. Domingo

Publications Committee:
Dennis R. Gorecho
Katrina V. Doble