SECTION 3. Suppletory Application of the Rules of Court – These Regulations shall primarily govern in the prosecution of administrative complaints in the Bureau. The provisions of the Rules of Court, however, shall apply in a suppletory character.
Commencement of Action
SECTION 1. Complaint, When and to Whom Filed – All administrative complaints for violation of the IP Code or IP Laws shall be commenced by filing a verified complaint with the Bureau within four (4) years from the date of commission of the violation, or if the date be unknown from the date of discovery of the violation. A complaint is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his knowledge and belief.
A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on “information and belief” or upon “knowledge, information, and belief” or lacks proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading.
The complaint shall include a certification that the party commencing the action has not filed any other action or proceeding involving the same issue or issues before any tribunal or agency nor such action or proceeding is pending in other quasi-judicial bodies; Provided, however, that if any such action is pending, the status of the same must be stated, and should knowledge thereof be acquired after the filing of the complaint, the party concerned undertakes to notify the Bureau within five (5) days from such knowledge. Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for dismissal of the case without prejudice. The submission of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt.
SECTION 2. Original Jurisdiction – (a) The Bureau shall have original jurisdiction in administrative actions for violations of laws involving intellectual property rights where the total damages claimed are not less than two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00); Provided however, that availment of the provisional remedies may be granted in accordance with these Regulations and the provisions of the Rules of Court; The Director shall coordinate with local enforcement agencies for the strict and effective implementation and enforcement of these Regulations.
The commencement of the action under these Rules and Regulations is independent and without prejudice to the filing of any action with the regular courts.
SECTION 3. Venue of Hearings. – All hearings on actions covered by these regulations shall be held within the premises of the Office.
SECTION 4. Formal Requirement. – The Complaint shall be typewritten and addressed to the Bureau, and shall contain the names and residences of the parties and a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the complainant’s cause or causes of action. It shall specify the relief/s sought, but it may add a general prayer for such further or other relief/s as may be deemed just or equitable. Every pleading filed shall likewise contain a caption setting forth the name of the Office and the Bureau, the title of the case, the case number, and the designation of the pleading.
No pleading shall be accepted by the Bureau unless it conforms to the formal requirements provided by these Regulations and accompanied by the required filing fee.
SECTION 5. Partners, Named Individually. – When two or more persons associated in any business, transact such business under a common name, the associates may be sued under such common name.
The associates of the business who are sued under a common name may be named individually in the Answer filed by them or on their behalf with their respective postal addresses.
SECTION 6. Payment of Filing Fee and Docketing. – The complaint shall be filed in triplicate with the Bureau, which shall issue an order for the payment of the required fee.
Upon payment of the required fee, the complainant, his counsel, or representative shall submit to the Bureau a copy of the official receipt and present the original copy thereof for comparison. Immediately after the receipt of proof of payment of the required fee, the Records Officer or any authorized officer of the Bureau shall acknowledge receipt of the papers by assigning the Administrative Complaint Number, docket the same, and raffle the case to any of the Hearing Officers.
SECTION 7. Representation and Confidentiality of Records. – (a) The complaint may be prosecuted by the complainant by himself or through counsel. The complainant and his counsel are required to conduct their business with politeness, decorum and courtesy. It is strictly and absolutely forbidden for the Director, and other employees of the Office to discuss the case or any phase thereof with either counsel of record in the absence of the other or with any third person not having any interest or legal standing before the Bureau.
SECTION 8. Summons – (a) Within three (3) days from receipt of the complaint, the Staff Clerk shall prepare, and the Process Server shall serve, the Summons or Notice to Answer together with a copy of the complaint to the Respondent by mail or by personal service. If the service is done through registered mail; the return card shall be attached to the documents as evidence of receipt. The proof of service of a summons shall be made in writing by the server and shall set forth the manner, place and date of service, shall specify any papers which have been served with the process and the name of the person who received the same, and shall be sworn to when made by a person other than a sheriff or his deputy.
(b) If service cannot be made under the preceding paragraph, the office and place of residence of the party being unknown, service may be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks and at the expense of the complainant. When a party summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, final orders or judgments against him shall be served upon him also by publication at the expense of the prevailing party. If the service has been made by publication, service may be proved by the affidavit of the printer, his foreman or principal clerk, or of the editor, business or advertising manager, to which affidavit a copy of the publication shall be attached, and by an affidavit showing the deposit of a copy of the summons and order for publication in the post office, postage prepaid directed to the party by registered mail to his last known address.
(c) Any application for leave to effect service by way of publication shall be made by motion in writing, supported by affidavit of the complainant or some person on his behalf, setting forth the grounds for the application.
(d) When the service has been completed, the server shall within five (5) days therefrom, serve a copy of the return, personally or by registered mail, to the plaintiffs counsel, and shall return the summons to the Hearing Officer who issued it, accompanied by proof of service.
SECTION 9. Answer – (a) The summons shall require respondent to answer the complaint within ten (10) days from receipt thereof. The respondent shall answer the complaint in writing, by either specifically denying the material allegations of the complaint or alleging any affirmative defense.
If the respondent fails to answer within the time allowed therefor, the Hearing Officer shall, motu proprio or upon motion of the complainant with notice to the respondent, and proof of such failure, declare the respondent in default. Thereupon, the Hearing Officer shall proceed to render judgment granting the complainant such relief as his pleading may warrant, unless the Hearing Officer in his discretion requires the complainant to submit evidence. All such decisions or orders shall comply with Rule 11 of these Regulations.
(b) A party declared in default may, at any time after notice thereof and before judgment, file a motion under oath to set the order of default upon proper showing that his failure to answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence and that he has a meritorious defense. In such a case, the order of default may be set aside on such terms and conditions as the Hearing Officer may impose in the interest of justice.
(c) A party in default shall not be entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings, unless he files a motion to lift or set aside the order of default.
SECTION 10. Answer to Amended Complaint. – If the complaint is amended the time fixed for the filing and service of the answer shall, unless otherwise ordered, run from the service of such amended complaint. The original answer shall be considered as answer to the amended complaint unless a new answer is filed within ten (10) days from receipt or service of the amended complaint.
SECTION 11. Motion to Dismiss Not Allowed. – No motion to dismiss on any of the grounds mentioned in the Rules of Court and in any other law shall be allowed except on the ground of prescription. Such grounds other than prescription shall instead be pleaded as affirmative defenses, the resolution of which shall be made in the decision on the merits. The Hearing Officer may, for good cause shown, conduct a preliminary hearing on any of the affirmative defenses if this will expedite the resolution of the case.
SECTION 12. Pre-trial – Upon joinder of issues, the pre-trial conference shall be set immediately by the Hearing Officer. The notice of said pre-trial shall be delivered by the Process Server within three (3) days from receipt of the answer or last pleading. The notice of pre-trial shall require the parties to submit a pre-trial brief Containing the following:
(a) A brief statement of the parties claims and defenses;
(b) Suggestions, if any, for simplification of issues;
(c) A list of documents they intend to produce as evidence, together with appropriate markings as exhibits as well as the identification of witnesses and a statement of the substance and purpose of their testimony during the hearing on the merits. The originals of these documents must be produced for comparison during the pre-trial conference without prejudice to the presentation of additional documents during the trial if the party was prevented from producing the same during the pre-trial on account of fraud, accident, mistake, excusable negligence or such other reason which the Director or Hearing Officer deems justifiable in the interest of justice and fair play;
(d) A statement whether they can stipulate on facts not covered by admissions in their pleadings. If so, they should come up with drafts of matters they are ready to stipulate on;
(e) The limitation on the number of witnesses;
(f) A statement whether they are open to the possibility of an amicable settlement; and
(g) Such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action.
SECTION 13. Effect of Failure to File Pre-Trial Brief or to Appear. – The failure of the complainant to submit the Pre-Trial Brief within the prescribed period or to appear at the pre-trial pursuant to these Regulations shall be cause for dismissal of the action with prejudice motu proprio or upon motion. A similar failure on the part of the respondent shall be cause to declare respondent as in default motu proprio or upon motion and to allow the complainant to present his evidence ex-parte and the office to render judgment on the basis thereof.
SECTION 14. Appearance of the Parties – It shall be the duty of the parties and their counsel to appear at the pre-trial. The non-appearance of a party may be excused only if a valid cause is shown therefor or if a representative shall appear on his behalf fully authorized in writing to enter into an amicable settlement and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents.
SECTION 15. Effect of Failure to File Pre-trial Brief or to Appear in the Pre-trial Conference. – The failure of the complainant to submit the Pre-trial Brief within the prescribed period or to appear at the pre-trial pursuant to these Regulations shall be cause for dismissal of the action with prejudice motu proprio or upon motion. A similar failure on the part of the respondent shall be cause to allow the complainant to present his evidence ex-parte and the Bureau to render judgment on the basis thereof.
SECTION 16. Record of Pre-Trial Results. – After the Pre-Trial, the Hearing Officer shall make an order which recites the action taken at the conference, the amendments allowed to the pleadings, and the agreements made by the parties as to any of the matters considered. Such order shall limit the issues for trial to those not disposed of by admissions or agreements of counsel and when entered, controls the subsequent course of the action, unless modified before trial to prevent manifest injustice.
SECTION 17. Pre-Trial Calendar. – The Hearing Officer shall cause to be prepared a pre-trial calendar of cases for consideration as above provided. After preparing Notice of Pre-Trial, it shall be the duty of the designated clerk of the Bureau to place such case in the pre-trial calendar.