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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Philippines IPO decisions forgiving of delays







IP Komodo has noticed a number of decision reports from the Philippines where the IP holder taking action has not always acted swiftly or effectively, but substantive justice is still granted.

In the case of Total SA v Bryan Distributors & Services, Total had sought numerous extensions of time to oppose a mark, yet still failed to oppose in time. It is not clear why or whether there was an error. The end result was that Bryan got a registration for PROTEC covering lubricants, a similar mark to Total's PROTEC mark.

Later when Total filed to cancel Bryan's mark, Bryan countered with an argument of inexcusable delay and that they should have dealt with this at opposition stage. The IPO's Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) held that delays and failure to oppose do not prevent cancellation actions being brought and found for Total that they had a prior right and cancelled Bryan's mark.

The case is notable for the fact that the IPO's BLA so starkly contrasts with the Philippines court system where endless delays, frequent procedural challenges and pointless challenges make getting substantive justice extremely difficult.

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