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17 August 2020
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the IP regimes of multiple jurisdictions around the world have been forced to spring into action to increase their capabilities to provide online services, concerning both contentious and non-contentious aspects of IP matters.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has proven itself to be no slouch in this global race for the modernisation of legal services. In July 2020 IPOPHL's Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) held its first two online hearings of IP cases.
These quick steps taken by the Philippines' IP enforcement regime were made possible by the signing into order of Memorandum Circular 2020-21 in early July 2020, which enabled parties to cases before the BLA to jointly request that their hearing be held online via user-friendly platforms.
Prior to this, swift measures had already been taken to ensure that the BLA maintained its presence in providing a forum for IP disputes amidst the pandemic. In May 2020, the facility for parties to participate in online mediation through the BLA was implemented and the services were taken up with great enthusiasm – according to the IPOPHL, practically all parties scheduled to take part in pending mediation chose the online route. The BLA has a long list of requests for online mediation still outstanding, with more than 40 online mediations having been conducted to date.
Citing this experience so far, it is easy to see why the BLA expects to conduct many more online hearings in the coming months. Trust in technology to provide a safe means of dispute has clearly grown in a short space of time and there is no reason why this forum for dispute resolution will not become the 'new normal' when it comes to contentious IP matters in the Philippines and across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.
For further information on this topic please contact Ian Mirandah at Mirandah Asia by telephone (+60 322 788 686) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Mirandah Asia website can be accessed at www.mirandah.com.
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