At the National Seminar on Industrial Designs and Trademarks hosted by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) last October 17, 2014, it was announced that in 2015 the Philippines plans to accede to the Nice and Vienna Agreements, to the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty, as well as to the Hague Agreement.

The IPOPHIL also disclosed that it is currently working on a proposal to amend some provisions of the Intellectual Property Code.

On the trademark side, the definition of a “trademark” will be amended to include any indication that can be graphically represented. The new definition is intended to accommodate the registration of non-traditional trademarks.  It was not clear which specific non-traditional marks will be covered.

Another amendment will be the elimination of the third year Declaration of Actual Use and the requirement of home registration as a condition for the registration of applications claiming convention priority.

On the trademark prosecution side, the IPOPHIL presented the features of search tools such as the ASEAN TMView and the ASEAN TMClass.  It also announced its plan to accept online submission of responses to office actions, and the adoption of convenient payment methods, e.g. payment by credit cards. A trademark owner will also have the ability to access the online database and print its own certificates of registration.

With respect to industrial design registration, IPOPHIL is promoting a system of registration with a five-day turnaround processing time. It also disclosed that it is upgrading its industrial design database and that it will be launching a new search tool and an e-filing system for designs.