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Report No. 188

(VII) Philippines (Manila):


The Supreme Court at Manila, Philippines, has issued a resolution designating 65 lower courts in the country as Special Commercial Courts that will try and decide cases involving violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) which will fall within their jurisdiction and those cases formerly cognizable by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In a resolution dated June 17, 2003, the Supreme Court en banc also revoked the designation of Intellectual Property Rights in the light of its decision to put up special courts to handle IP cases. The resolution noted that the Special Commercial Courts (SCC) shall have jurisdiction over cases arising within their respective territorial jurisdiction.

"Thus, cases shall be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Court in the official station of the designated SCC" the Supreme Court said. Prior to the issuance of the new resolution, the Court, in its Nov. 2000 ruling, designated certain branches of the regional trial Courts (RTCs) to try and decide cases formerly covered by the SEC.

Pursuant to the same resolution, the Supreme Court designated 65 regional trial courts all over the country as SEC courts.

In an Arbitration Order No. 104-96 issued in Oct. 1996, the RTCs in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Regions 3,4,6,7,10 and 11, 27 Judges were designated to try and decide cases for IPR violations.

To ensure the speedy disposition of cases involving violations of the Intellectual Property Code, the SC, through a resolution on Feb. 19, 2002, designated the RTCs in Regions 1,2,5,8 and 12, with a total of seven judges, and the Manila RTC Branch 24 as Special IP Courts.

As of present, the special IP Courts have a total 503 pending cases. Out of this number, 434 IP cases are pending in NCR courts.

As of present, the special IP courts were established, 15 designated courts in various regions have not received IP cases and do not warrant their continued designation as IP courts. The SC resolved:

"To streamline the Court structure and to promote expediency and efficacy to handling such special cases, the jurisdiction to hear and decide IPC and SEC cases are best consolidated in one Court".

The SC resolution took effect on July 1, 2003 (Joel R. San Juan, Reporter)

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