Proposed IP Code Amendments Designed to Strengthen the Powers of the BLA

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.

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