COVID Strategy: IPOPHL shifts to online-only services, postpones hearings, deadlines

In line with the community quarantine measures in force across Luzon, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) issued last March 16 a memorandum circular through which it suspends manual filings for protection of intellectual property until April 14, 2020.

However, the Office would like to assure that its workers, most importantly its customer service providers and information and technology infrastructure managers, will continue regular operations through a work-from-home arrangement to ensure smooth implementation of its online services. 

“IPOPHL is closely watching developments to guide us in effectively protecting our employees, our top priority, while still delivering our services to our stakeholders through innovative alternative methods. We have cancelled all public events even before the March 13 announcement of a Metro Manila-wide quarantine. Despite the month-long work suspension, it will be public service as usual for IPOPHL as my hardworking colleagues and I virtually communicate every day to maintain the quality and nationwide availability of our service,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said.

IPOPHL has already published on its website and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) a visual step-by-step guide to apply online. 

IPOPHL’s eTMFile for trademarks, eInventionfile for patents, eUMfile for utility models, and eIDfile for industrial designs are platforms that can facilitate the filing of the application—from submission of documents to payment—and are accessible through IPOPHL’s website. 

Hassle-free payments can be made through Dragonpay which allows IPOPHL clients to pay online using their ATM accounts at several banks such as BDO, BPI, Chinabank, PNB, RCBC, UCPB, and Union Bank, among others. Another payment option is through Visa Credit Card.

Applicants and clients outside Metro Manila can take advantage of the online services, and may ask for assistance from field operations personnel in satellite offices through mobile or e-mail. The main directory of IPOPHL’s regional offices is posted on IPOPHL’s website and will soon be published on its social media pages. 

IPOPHL has also suspended hearings, including mediation proceedings, scheduled within March 16 to April 14, 2020. Deadlines for all papers, pleadings, documents, and payments falling due within the affected period are deemed extended for 30 calendar days from the due date.

Operations of the document receiving sections of IPOPHL are also suspended. Letters, queries, or any other written communications may be filed beginning April 15.

Meanwhile, submissions of copyrighted work for recordation are also suspended pending the rollout of an online infrastructure for said process. IPOPHL targets work on having an online for copyright recordation to begin within the year.