How to Register a Trade Mark in the Philippines
Trade mark registration in the Philippines is administered by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
On 23 November 2013, IPOPHL launched a search engine for trade marks known as the Philippines Trademarks Database (PTD) which can be located here. As at the date of writing, the PTD records that 156, 621 trade marks are registered, 30, 697 are pending, and 12 appeals are pending. The search fields available on the PTD are “Mark”, “Names”, “Numbers”, “Dates” and “Class” with filters for “status”, “image”, “filing data”, “holder country”, “expiration”, “Nice classification” and “Image class”. The data covers pending, registered and also expired marks.
The IPOPHL has its own Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/IPOPHL which records regular news updates. The headquarters of the IPOPHL are in Taguig City, Metro Manila and the current officer in charge is Deputy DG Teodoro C. Pascua, appointed 1 January 2020 for a term of four years. A press statement states that:
DG Santiago’s overall initiatives translated to have drastic improvements in the IP application processes for stakeholders—IPOPHL achieved full online registration (from application to payment) under her term; more effective IP enforcement through strengthened collaboration with stakeholders; heightened IP awareness through the creation of an Advocacy and Communications Unit; the establishment of the IP Academy, an emblem of her priority to focus on IP education and training; a more inclusive approach in guiding all members of society (women, micro, small and medium enterprises, and independent inventors, etc.) in their IP journey; a proposal, already submitted to Congress, to amend and update the current IP Code; and the initiation and completion of the landmark National Intellectual Property Strategy 2020-2025.
Filipino applicants can file their applications directly to IPOPHL in Manila or through the Intellectual Property Satellite Offices (IPSOs) across the country. Foreigners and foreign corporations must get the assistance of a local agent who will file the application with the IPOPHL on their behalf.
Here are the steps on how to apply for a trade mark in the Philippines:
1. File for an application
You can file for an application in the IPOPHL office in McKinley Hill, Taguig, Metro Manila. All initial filings must be addressed to the Director, and filings must be in Filipino or English. The full list of requirements is available here.
An examination of completeness of the application requirements will be performed by a duty officer, then an application number will be issued to the registrant.
2. Search and Examination
After you file your application, your trade mark will be examined to see if there are similar trade marks from the IPOPHL database that are already registered. This stage takes at least 6 months from the filing date.
The search and examination process includes examining your trade mark to see if it complies with the applicable rules and regulations. This means that your trade mark must not be generic, obscene, and/or scandalous among other rules. Otherwise, the application will be rejected!
3. Official Gazette Publication
Once your trademark is approved, it will be published in the IP Philippines eGazette to inform the public of your application. This gives other businesses and intellectual property owners an opportunity to contest your application should it violate their registered trade mark rights or adversely affects their business reputation.
Once the application is published, the public is given up to 30 days to oppose the trade mark. IPOPHL will issue the registrant with a Certificate of Registration after the Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs confirms that there is no notice of opposition received within the given opposition period.
The final stage is registration. A Certificate of Registration states the details and validity of your trade mark. Your trade mark will be valid for 10 years and is renewable. You will be responsible for ensuring that you continue to own the rights in your trade mark. This is done by making sure you pay the trade mark registration renewal when it is due or earlier.
This entire trade mark application process takes around 18 – 24 months. Therefore, if you have a business in the Philippines or plan to start a business there, you should start the trade mark process as soon as possible.
Svethlana Milanes, ABComm
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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.