Arbitration pushed for IP dispute resolution

By November 27, 2019Property News

THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is making its alternative dispute resolution methods immediately available to reduce case backlog.
IPOPHL said in a statement Tuesday that arbitration, one of its out-of-court intellectual property dispute resolution methods, can now be immediately availed prior to the filing of a case.
Prior to this, mediation — which encourages companies to make concessions for a mutually beneficial solution — was made mandatory in October 2018. Parties went through this process first.
IPOPHL said that arbitration services as a result “failed to get momentum.”
“The reason often cited is that the rules were not enticing for parties to try arbitration. Parties may opt to submit to arbitration only after they fail to agree to a settlement in the mediation proceedings, after which parties would have already been exhausted, physically and resource-wise, to even consider arbitration,” the statement said.
IPOPHL said arbitration is being made immediately available to increase its use, as it gives parties the chance to choose between the two options right away.
“In business, time and cost are of the essence. Arbitration is emerging as a viable alternative for business players to resolve disputes as decisions, in some cases, can be made in less than a year. And less time on a case means more productive time can be spent on focusing on the business,” IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. 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.”
IPOPHL said that opening up of the arbitration option is also in line with the office’s anticipation of increased intellectual property cases in the future as technological advancements make piracy and counterfeit goods more pervasive.
Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI) Assistant Secretary-General Francisco D. Pabilla, Jr. noted that businesses prefer arbitration instead of litigation because it affords companies confidentiality not usually granted by 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,” he explained.
Decisions from arbitral proceedings are recognized by courts.
Ms. Santiago said that the option can be successful only if trained IP professionals are available to provide the service, and if there is sufficient, sustained support from courts along with IPOPHL.
IPOPHL provides an initial training ground for intellectual property arbitrators through its partnership with PDRCI to provide lectures under a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education program. — J. P. Ibañez
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