The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has allowed the hearing of cases online taking advantage of user-friendly platforms in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
This was made possible by Memorandum Circular No. 2020-21, signed by Director General Rowel S. Barba on July 03, 2020.
Already, IPOPHL’s Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) successfully held its first online hearing of intellectual property (IP) cases on July 15, 2020. This was followed by another last July 22.
Under MC 2020-21, parties to a case filed in the BLA to jointly request for the holding of online hearings through user-friendly platforms. The procedure to take advantage of this new online service is detailed in said circular.
The introduction of online hearings comes on the heels of encouraging results from the implementation of the online mediation last May. The measures are well-received and commended by the stakeholders.
“While online hearings and mediations may be optional on the part of the parties at the moment, we envision it as the norm for the days to come,” DG Barba said.
IPOPHL’s Management Information Services Bureau provides valuable technical assistance to enable BLA to smoothly conduct online hearings.
Online hearings and mediation services are aligned with IPOPHL’s efforts to provide continuous service despite the challenges brought about by the health crisis worldwide while ensuring the safety of employees, stakeholders and prospective clients.
“Shifting to virtual delivery of services ensures compliance with social distancing and other measures to reduce, if not totally eliminate, the risk of transmitting the virus through physical contact.
Parties and their lawyers likewise benefit in terms of reduced costs, freeing them from the grind and expenses of going to and fro IPOPHL to attend hearings and mediation sessions,” the IPOPHL chief added.
The BLA anticipates more requests for online hearings, citing the experience in online mediation where practically, parties to all pending mediation chose to have the mediation conducted via online platforms.
As of July 24, 2020, BLA has 39 requests for online mediation, while 45 actual online mediation sessions have already been conducted.