On September 19, 2013, IPOPHIL Director General Blancaflor signed a bundle of Office Orders establishing the rules and regulations for some the provisions of Republic Act No. 10372, the law which passed earlier this year and amended the Intellectual Property Code. Office Order No. 13-169 establishes the rules and procedures at the Bureau of Copyright and Other Related Rights. It provides that: (1) the Bureau of Copyright and other Related Rights has original jurisdiction to hear and decide disputes relating to copyright; (2) decide on accreditation of collective management organizations; (3) conduct research in the copyright field, and (4) provide other copyright services. The Director General has exclusive appellate jurisdiction for decisions rendered by the Bureau of Copyright. Office Order 13-170 creates the rules and regulations relating to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), as an Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Office. In cases of infringement, the owner can now file a complaint with the IPO. Upon filing of the complaint, the IPO will investigate and conduct visits to the counterfeiter and give warnings not to engage in activities that violate the rights of intellectual property rights of the complainant. This Office Order outlines the procedures on how to file the complaint and the process in which the Director General handles the complaint. The Director General is empowered to issue compliance order against the defendant. Office Order No. 13-171 lays down the procedures for registering a copyrighted with the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights. It lays down the requirements and procedure for registering copyrightable with the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights. Office Order No. 13-173 relates to accreditation of collective management organizations. Collective Management Organizations or (“CMO”) are societies chosen by artists, writers, composers and other right-holders to collectively manage their economic or moral rights. Before this amendment, there was no accreditation requirement for such societies. This Office Order provides the rules and regulations governing the accreditation procedure.
The IPO has posted a bulletin for comments on a proposal to amend certain provisions of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (IP Code). Entitled “An Act Amending Certain Provisions Of Republic Act No. 8293 Entitled (in turn entitled ‘An Act Prescribing The Intellectual Property Code And Establishing The Intellectual Property Office, Providing For Its Powers And Functions And For Other Purposes’)”, the IPO seeks to increase the power of the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA), which is the arm that hears complaint for violation of intellectual property rights. If approved, the Bureau will be fairly the equivalent of regular courts, which can execute its own decisions, order injunctions, and award damages. These proposed amendments give the BLA the ability to command law enforcement authorities to assist the BLA in enforcing its orders and decisions. The BLA’s hearing officers will be no different in power from judges of regular courts. And because the BLA will be singularly focused on intellectual property complaints, it will be on the same level as “special courts” designated by the Supreme Court to exclusively handle commercial law cases.