By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is strengthening its arbitration service to heighten its use among intellectual property (IP) owners, rights holders, and users.
In a statement, IPOPHL said the increased use of its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service can contribute to the easing of the workload at the courts.
Arbitration is one of the out-of-court dispute resolution methods widely tapped today by both the public and private sectors. Decisions drawn out from arbitral proceedings are legally binding and recognized by the courts.
It was in 2010 when it embarked on an ADR program, which includes mediation and arbitration, as managed by its Bureau of Legal Affairs.
IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said arbitration is emerging as a viable alternative for business players to resolve disputes as decisions, which in some cases, can be made in less than a year.
“And the lesser time on a case means more productive time can be spent on focusing on the business,” Santiago said.
“With this additional alternative option to settle disputes, IPOPHL will also help in the declogging of its own dockets and that of the trial courts. This track can only be successful if our stakeholders are ensured that trained and competent IP professionals are available to provide the service provided, and if there is sufficient and sustained campaign from courts and the IPOPHL itself,” she added.
Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI) Assistant Secretary-General Francisco D. Pabilla, Jr. said business players, both major ones and small and medium enterprises, are increasingly opting for arbitration also because of its treatment of cases with confidentiality, a protection not ordinarily granted to parties who seek remedies at trial courts.
“No business would like the public to know that it is embroiled in a conflict. Although conflicts with other businesses or government agencies are ordinary ordeals in commerce, it may turn messy when it gets out into the public,” Pabilla said.
Alongside this effort is the work of IPOPHL, through its IP Academy, to gather and capacitate more arbitrators to specialize in IP. This objective is at the core of the upcoming Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) themed “Enhancing Conflict Resolution on Intellectual Property.”
The MCLE is an obligation of lawyers, set by their duties as legal service providers, to keep abreast with the law and jurisprudence, maintain the ethics of the profession, and enhance the standards of the law.
The upcoming MCLE activity, to be held by IPOPHL, in partnership with PDRCI, will run from Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 5-6. It will be a two-for-one lecture series as participants will learn the different facets of IP and arbitration.