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10 February 2014
Under Section 4 of Republic Act 8293 (also known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines) geographical indication is an IP right. Recognising the need to confer protection to those holding such rights, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Philippines recently drafted proposed rules and regulations that aim to provide a system of registration for geographical indications.
The draft rules provide that the term 'geographical indication' refers to:
"indications which identify a good as originating in a territory, region or locality, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and/or human factors."
Applications for geographical indications may be made only by:
Under the draft rules, foreign applicants must be either:
Foreign applicants must also submit proof issued by a competent governmental or private certifying entity showing that the subject of the application is a registered or protected geographical indication.
Under the draft rules, applications must be filed with the director of the Bureau of Trademarks of the IPO, acting as the registrar of geographical indication. The registrar will then conduct an examination of the application in accordance with the rules and regulations governing trademarks. The registrar will automatically refuse the registration of applications which:
Otherwise, if all prescribed requirements are met to the satisfaction of the registrar, the application will be published in the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines e-Gazette. Within one month of publication, any person may file a notice of third-party observation with regard to the registrability of geographical indications. As with notices of opposition for trademarks, the notice of third-party observation must be verified. The applicant is given one month to comment. The registrar shall then decide whether the geographical indication can be registered.
If no notice of third-party observation is filed, the geographical indication shall be registered on the day immediately following the last day of publication.
The draft rules have been circulated among IP practitioners and comments have been solicited by the IPO. While there is no definite date for the issue of the final version rules and regulations, the IPO's efforts must be lauded as a clear indication of its drive to strengthen IP rights protection.
For further information on this topic please contact Lee Benjamin Z Lerma at Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles by telephone (+63 2 848 0114), fax (+63 2 815 3172) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles website can be accessed at www.romulo.com.
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Benjamin Z Lerma