The Philippines is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol), and the World Trade Organization and, by such membership, adheres to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Intellectual property rights are primarily protected and enforced in the Philippines through the Intellectual Property Code (IP Code), and the rules of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Remedies in connection with enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as injunctive relief and damages, may also be secured by the holder of the intellectual property right from the civil courts.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE
The IPO processes applications for trademarks, service marks, trade names, patents, utility models, industrial designs, and copyrighted works, and issues the corresponding certificates of registration. Copyrighted works are deposited with the National Library or the Intellectual Property Office (IPO),as well as the Supreme Court Library for copyrighted works in the field of law.
Trademarks, service marks, and trade names owned by persons, corporations, partnerships, or associations domiciled in the Philippines or in any foreign country may be registered with the IPO. Trade names are protected even before or without registration.
Rights to a mark are acquired by registration. Priority is given to whoever applies first for registration. There is a single procedure for both foreign and local applicants for the registration of marks. An applicant should file a declaration of use within three (3) years from the date of application.
Trademark registration is valid for ten (10) years, for as long as the registrant files with the IPO a declaration of use/justifiable non-use within one (1) year following the 5th anniversary of the registration or renewal date. The registration is renewable at the end of each 10-year period from the registration or renewal date so long as the mark is still in commercial use. Starting 1 August 2017, a declaration of actual use should also be filed with the IPO within one (1) year from the renewal date in order to maintain the trademark registration.
Inventions, utility models and industrial designs may be patented. A patent is granted to the inventor who filed his or her patent application earlier than others, thus simplifying the determination of who is entitled to own the patent.
A patent registration for an invention is valid for twenty (20) years from the filing date of the application, subject to the payment of an annual fee starting from the expiration of four (4) years from the date of publication of the application. A registration for a utility model is valid for seven (7) years from the filing date of the application and automatically expires at the end of the period. The term of registration of an industrial design is five (5) years from the filing date and may be renewed for two consecutive periods of five (5) years each.
Literary, scholarly, scientific, and artistic works, whether published or unpublished, may be copyrighted. Copyright protection extends to computer programs, multimedia works, and databases that are original by reason of the selection, coordination or arrangement of their contents.
In general, copyrights endure for the lifetime of the creator and for fifty (50) years after his or her death.
The BOC rules on border control measures prevent the entry into the Philippines of infringing merchandise and ensure expedited procedures for the handling and disposition of goods suspected to be imported in violation of the IP Code.
Intellectual Property (IP) owners may record their products covered by patents, trademarks, copyrights and other similarly protected IP rights with the BOC.
The application for recordal serves as the consent of the IP owner for the BOC to conduct a physical inspection of imports suspected to be infringing. The application for recordal also serves as a continuing complaint on the part of the IP owner for importers of infringing products or material.
The recordal will be the basis of the BOC for monitoring suspected imports to determine whether they are liable to seizure, forfeiture and subsequent destruction. A BOC recordal is valid for two (2) years from the date of recordal.
The Strategic Trade and Management Act also provides a mechanism for trade control in the importation, exportation, re-exportation, reassignment, transit, and transshipment of strategic goods and the provision of related services.
Strategic goods are goods enumerated in the National Strategic Goods List, which has yet to be issued by the National Security Council - Strategic Trade Management Committee. These are products that, for security reasons or due to international agreements, are considered to be of such military importance that their export is either prohibited altogether or subject to specific conditions. Such goods are generally suitable to be used for military purposes or for the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Related services refer to brokering, financing, and transporting in relation to the movement of strategic goods between two foreign countries and providing technical assistance.
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER ARRANGEMENTS
A technology transfer arrangement (TTA) is a contract or an agreement involving the transfer of systematic knowledge for the manufacture of a product, the application of a process, or the rendering of a service, including management contracts. It also refers to an agreement to transfer, assign, or license all forms of intellectual property rights, including the licensing of computer software, except computer software developed for the mass market.
TTAs should not contain certain prohibited clauses which are deemed to be adverse to competition and trade, and should contain certain mandatory provisions. Non-conformity to the requirement on prohibited and mandatory clauses will automatically render the TTA unenforceable. However, there are exceptional cases where exemptions from the prohibited and/or mandatory clauses may be allowed by the IPO on a case by case basis, upon showing that substantial benefits will accrue to the Philippine economy as a result of the implementation of the TTA.
TTA should not contain certain prohibited clauses which are deemed to be adverse to competition and trade, and should contain certain mandatory provisions. Non-conformity to the requirement on prohibited and mandatory clauses will automatically render the TTA unenforceable. However, there are exceptional cases where exemptions from the prohibited and/or mandatory clauses may be allowed by the IPO on a case by case basis, upon showing that substantial benefits will accrue to the Philippine economy as a result of the implementation of the TTA.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE EU
The EU and the Philippines are both signatories to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Madrid Protocol, and the TRIPS. The Philippines therefore grant nationals of Member States of the EU rights and remedies with regard to intellectual property rights similar to those afforded to Philippine nationals.