The IP market in the Philippines continues to be in fine fettle; e-filing has made prosecution more efficient and the country continues to stay off the US Trade Representative’s Watch List. However, slow opposition proceedings remain a concern for those looking to secure trademark rights. One important change for brand owners to be aware of occurred in August 2017; the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines issued a memorandum requiring the filing of an additional declaration of actual use within one year from the date of registration renewal. The WTR 1000 rankings for 2019 remain largely consistent with the previous year, although two firms make their debuts; MarksPro and Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan.
- Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
- SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
- Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
- Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
- Bengzon Negre Untalan
- Betita Cabilao Casuela Sarmiento
- Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia
- Federis & Associates
- Hechanova Group
- Quisumbing Torres
- Bucoy Poblador & Associates
- Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices
- Poblador Bautista & Reyes
- Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan
- V&A Law
Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
ACCRALAW overlays its prosecution, enforcement and transactions services with value-adding sector-specific insights and strategic analysis. It renders a “first-rate trademark service at phenomenal speed and represents great value for money”. Wearing the captain’s armband is Alex Ferdinand Fider, an erudite professional who has authored an extensive array of IP textbooks. He puts his profound knowledge to good use in the formulation of brand strategies for companies such as Bayer. The food and beverages sector is the province of Victor De Leon. Representing San Miguel, he recently prevailed in a must-win opposition. His partner Jose Eduardo Genilo makes a deserved debut in the WTR 1000 this year, having recorded a victory at the Supreme Court for Seri Somboonsakdikul in a dispute against Orlane. Another key name on Angara’s glittering roster is of counsel Aleli Angela Quirino. She provides sagacious advice on brands and is an excellent communicator who is fluent in French and Spanish.
Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
Rouse’s Philippines affiliate, Baranda & Associates upholds the highest international standards and is perfectly poised to assist clients operating across borders. Last year, the firm added Mars Incorporated to its impressive client list, which features GlaxoSmithKline, Goodyear Tires and Harley-Davidson. Former trademark examiner Claire Corral knows all there is to know about prosecution in the Philippines, she is also a smart negotiator and has a talent for convincing counterparties to refrain from filing similar marks. Potency in enforcement is another of the firm’s key selling points; Edmund Baranda, a New York and Philippines-qualified lawyer regularly orchestrates blitz raids. Following an expertly coordinated effort for Wrangler, Baranda recently seized in excess of 43,000 pairs of counterfeit jeans.
Bengzon Negre Untalan
Made up of a team of bright lawyers with big-firm experience, compact outfit Bengzon Negre Untalan has a laser focus on intellectual property and information technology. Aided by cutting-edge case management systems, the tight-knit ensemble excels at providing personalised and concise advice, which covers prosecution, enforcement, transactions, regulatory compliance and much more. Anthony Bengzon, Ferdinand Negre, Michael Untalan and Jonathan Perez are key contacts.
Betita Cabilao Casuela Sarmiento
A full-service outfit with intellectual property at its very heart, Betita Cabilao Casuela Sarmiento is a repository of trust for Fortune 500 clients seeking assistance across the trademark lifecycle. A high degree of efficiency defines its approach to trademark work; it has developed an in-house case management system which ensures prosecution proceeds smoothly and all deadlines are met. Enforcement is another area of expertise; the firm is the sole Philippines member of worldwide anti-counterfeiting organisation REACT. Having written up a sizable portion of the country’s IP Code, there is not much that Andre Philippe Betita has not seen in his distinguished 25-year career. Pericles Jose Conrado Casuela is also a cogent choice – he has a particularly deft touch when it comes to IP commercialisation.
Bucoy Poblador & Associates
Bucoy Poblador is equipped with an exhaustive database of Philippine trademarks and patents issued since 1969; its operational processes are also automated, making it a discerning choice for flawless and quick prosecution. With offices in Phnom Penh and Ontario, Canada, the historic ensemble is also one of the most internationally oriented. Managing partner Antonio Bucoy maintains a multidisciplinary practice and is highly sought after by foreign clients.
With 12 lawyers available to take on every sort of IP instruction, Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia’s trademark department is “incredibly well-organised and stable”. Its dedicated professionals go much further than the typical IP agent to formulate “crystal-clear advice and winning brand protection strategies”. Clients place great trust in Divina Gracia Pedron. Newly featured in the guide for 2019, she thinks outside the box in a way that routinely impresses foreign associates. Pedron is the guardian of Ferrero’s trademarks and trade dress in the Philippines. Having just concluded a term as president of the Licensing Executives Society International, Patricia Bunye is a go-to transactional maven; her clients include the Technological Institute of the Philippines. Inspiring as the leader of the practice, Susan Villanueva is a commanding presence in the courtroom with an assortment of landmark IP decisions to her name.
Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices
An unstinting dedication to clients and an appreciation of their business goals is the name of the game at Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices. The firm has broad horizons and is proficient in advertising, food and drug regulatory law and information technology, making it a highly reliable one-stop shop. Pragmatism and commerciality are hallmarks of the firm’s service, which encompasses routine prosecution work and more challenging contentious affairs. Managing partner Ramon Esguerra is a mover and shaker in the local IP scene, he has abundant IP experience from time spent in private practice, his roles in government and academia and his involvement in influential industry associations.
Federis & Associates
A cosmopolitan outlook, effective communication and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law are what set Federis & Associates apart. Its professionals are active participants of various leading IP organisations and therefore know a great deal about international best practices – knowledge which they apply in their day-to-day trademark activities. Close communication ensures that client needs are attended to around the clock. Embodying the firm’s pragmatic spirit is managing partner and IP devotee Mila Federis.
A well-oiled machine, Hechanova Group consistently keeps its patrons happy; during the WTR 1000 2019 research it garnered some of the most enthusiastic client feedback and ascends to the silver tier as a result. The focal point for praise is Editha Hechanova: “She is a truly outstanding trademark lawyer with deep technical and substantive expertise. She provides clear and extremely helpful advice and direction and exercises a keen business sense and strong strategic vision. She also has excellent interpersonal skills and is a delightful person to work with.”
MarksPro breaks into the WTR 1000 this year in recognition of its sophisticated enforcement practice. Fuelling its reputation as “arguably the best firm for enforcement in the country” is Regina Reyes-Rara, a criminal law expert with a deep anti-counterfeiting playbook dedicated to keeping infringers at bay. She chairs INTA’s East Asia and Pacific Anti-Counterfeiting Sub-committee. MarksPro also dispenses a comprehensive suite of brand creation, strategy and protection services.
Poblador Bautista & Reyes
Although its trademark service is all-compassing, Poblador Bautista & Reyes stands out for the enforcement campaigns it devises and then executes. The firm has a long history of taking down the most sophisticated infringers and counterfeiters and manoeuvres as deftly in the digital realm as it does offline. Trademark searching, filing and licensing exercises are also conducted with finesse. Gilbert Raymund Reyes has an exceptionally broad legal workload, but intellectual property is still a central focus.
Fully plugged in to the Baker McKenzie global network, Quisumbing Torres is well positioned to serve the total trademark needs of multinationals. The firm’s global service centre located in Manila provides a distinct edge over the competition as it can mobilise impressive resources at a moment’s notice. A key local contact for trademark and other IP protection services is Divina Pastora Ilas-Panganiban, who doubles as a licensing and transactional IP maestro. She is vice president and director of the Philippine Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society International. Directing the anti-counterfeiting taskforce of the firm’s Asia Pacific IP Steering Committee, Bienvenido Marquez III is a force to be reckoned with in the enforcement space.
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles is one of the best corporate setups in the country. In business for more than a century, it has incredible institutional experience and a muscular team of over 90 lawyers – some of the best of which make up the IP department. The exclusive Lex Mundi member in the Philippines, the firm has the leverage to execute the most demanding global IP instructions with ease. Rogelio Nicandro has presided over the IP department for 20 years.
Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan
Renowned for its patent offering, Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan Law Offices also does a tip-top job in trademarks and as a result features in the WTR 1000 for the first time this year. On the soft IP side, the firm has had numerous landmark successes before the Supreme Court. Ignacio Sapalo is a former director of the IP office (then the Bureau of Patents, Trademark and Technology Transfer) and is a key contact.
The country’s biggest law firm, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan maintains a superlative IP practice that is the largest in the country. The outward-looking ensemble is always up to date with the latest global developments in intellectual property, thanks to the numerous international associations its practitioners take part in. Excelling on either side of the contentious/non-contentious divide, the set draws clients of all industry stripes. Enrique Manuel and Vida Panganiban-Alindogan are at the forefront of the SyCip IP practice. A three-decade IP veteran, sage prosecutor and enforcer, Manuel leads the department. Sought after by fashion, luxury goods and pharmaceutical clients, the versatile Panganiban-Alindogan shines bright as a true IP all-rounder.
Since it was established in 1980, V&A Law has done much to cultivate awareness of intellectual property in the Philippines. It runs a sophisticated and broad practice in trademarks in conjunction with its commercial practice, which gives clients the benefit of joined-up strategic thinking on brands and other business assets. The set handles major portfolios without breaking a sweat and has a confidence-inspiring successful track record in litigation, enforcement and administrative proceedings. A frontline participant in numerous local and international industry associations, Bienvenido Somera is a revered name steeped in the practice of IP law in the Philippines.
Other recommended expertsCesar Cruz is the founder and manager of Cesar C Cruz & Partners. Vastly experienced, he can handle any complex commercial or IP law problem.
- Alex Ferdinand Fider - Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
- Enrique T Manuel - SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
- Bienvenido A Marquez III - Quisumbing Torres
- Rogelio Nicandro - Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
- Gilbert Raymund Reyes - Poblador Bautista & Reyes
- Andre Philippe G Betita - Betita Cabilao Casuela Sarmiento
- Patricia AO Bunye - Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia
- Pericles Jose Conrado R Casuela - Betita Cabilao Casuela Sarmiento
- Cesar Cruz - Cesar C Cruz & Partners
- Ramon S Esguerra - Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices
- Mila Federis - Federis & Associates
- Editha R Hechanova - Hechanova Group
- Aleli Angela G Quirino - Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
- Bienvenido I Somera Jr - V&A Law
- Susan D Villanueva - Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia
- Edmund Baranda - Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
- Antonio Z Bucoy - Bucoy Poblador & Associates
- Claire Corral - Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
- Victor N De Leon - Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
- Jose Eduardo T Genilo - Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
- Vida M Panganiban-Alindogan - SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
- Divina Gracia E Pedron - Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia
- Ignacio S Sapalo - Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan