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IPOPHL, DOJ partnership to ramp up resolution of IP violation cases in Phl

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to expedite the resolution of intellectual property (IP) rights violation cases at the courts. 

The MOA was signed by IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba and DOJ Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes T. Andres at the annual High-Level Meeting and 15-year anniversary celebration of the National Committee on IP Rights (NCIPR) held last Nov. 17.

Under the MOA, IPOPHL and the DOJ commit to exchange relevant information on the complaints and cases filed by law enforcement agencies and IP rights holders. 

Both parties will also promote the use of mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services which could help more IP rights holders save time and cost in settling conflicts. And as advocates of alternative dispute resolution, both the IPOPHL and the DOJ shall endeavor to use the ADR through the establishment of an ADR referral system, if and when applicable.

IPOPHL and the DOJ will also facilitate capacity-building activities to increase efficiency in the enforcement, investigation and prosecution of IP rights cases. Knowledge-sharing events will also be undertaken to highlight current and emerging IP rights violation trends which could help both offices proactively prevent counterfeiting, piracy and other forms of IP rights infringement in the country. 

“The DOJ is a critical member of the NCIPR and longtime partner of IPOPHL  in fostering innovation and creativity. By putting the court resolution process at greater speed, IPOPHL and the DOJ can further encourage creators, innovators and businesses to defend their IP rights. IP rights holders who have been wronged can be empowered to recover the revenues that are legitimately theirs and the goodwill hard-earned by their brands,” Barba said.

For his part, DOJ’s Undersecretary Andres shared that the agency issued Department Circular 20 in March 2023, which he described as a “paradigm shift” in elevating the quality of prosecution in the country.

Under the circular, all prosecutors are mandated to proactively coordinate, cooperate with and provide sufficient legal guidance to law enforcement agencies in all planned operations. The scope of cooperation would extend to entrapment operations and applications for search warrants, among others, starting from their inception until the successful termination of the case.

“Our goal is to create an environment where there is a deterrent to crime. Under this regime, businesses will feel secure in their IP investments,” Andres said.

“IPOPHL is central to this objective. All businesses, all investments are based on the assumption that their IP rights and brands are protected. No investor will come here without confidence that their businesses will flourish under the rule of law. IPOPHL, DOJ and all members of the NCIPR play a role in ensuring that objective, and we shall continue to fulfill our roles in a collaborative manner,” Andres concluded.

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