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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Philippines IP lawyers take a stand against Madrid

  The Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP) has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to block the Philippines' Madrid accession. The Philippines joined Madrid last year. The petition argues that the accession is unconstitutional due a series of procedural technicalities primarily around whether the requisite number of senators voted for it and the executive order mechanism used to enact it. The IPAP petition also argues that Madrid creates conflicts with the IP Code which requires foreign trademark applications to have a resident agent or representative. A temporary restraining order is sought to stop the handling of Madrid applications.

The Philippines is very litigious country. This seems to be an attempt by a local group of IP lawyers to delay the Madrid system, although of course it has long since started. IP Komodo presumes that constitutionality is not the real issue as the case is brought by an IP Association. It seems unlikely to succeed in the long run as Madrid is an ASEAN obligation. Perhaps this group hopes to delay it a few months by requiring the government to cure the defects (if they are proven) in the hope that fewer IP holders will use Madrid in that time, and continue to file national applications.

Meanwhile the Philippines business community seems to have the opposite view. Accordingly to the IPO director so far 23 Filipino companies have made Madrid applications designating hundreds of countries for their brands.

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