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Manage your Intellectual Property in South-East Asia

Case Study 21 - Misplaced interpretation of due process requirement in the Philippines

Background:

A trade mark owner in the Philippines found out that a local retail shop had been selling counterfeit products that infringed his registered trade mark for quite some time and it wanted to stop this illicit activity which was incurring economic damages to his company.  

Actions Taken:

The trade mark owner requested a raid action against the shop in question, supported by consumer complaints as evidence. After the shop was raided and the infringing goods were found on the premises, he also requested the local city hall to revoke the business license of the shop, citing consumer complaints and IP law violations. The required documents have been submitted to the city hall, while the rights holder is considering the possibility of filing a civil law suit as well.

Outcome:

The city official in charge responded that they would not take any action until a court decision is secured recommending the closure of the said shop. The city official equated the requirement of due process of notice and hearing to undergoing a full trial.

IP lessons:

  • It is within the sole authority of the city government to revoke business licenses issued in the Philippines. However, a misplaced interpretation of due process requirement can limit the options of IP owners against infringers.
  • IP owners and practitioners are encouraged to be prompt and proactive in protecting IP rights. It is recommended to always keep tested avenues open such as pursuing settlement with the target infringers, especially when an SME may consider a lawsuit to be an option that goes beyond their own economic means. 
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