Philippine trademark law

Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines
10th Congress of the Philippines
  • An Act Prescribing the Intellectual Property Code and Establishing the Intellectual Property Office, Providing for its Powers and Functions, and for Other Purposes
Territorial extentWhole of the Philippines
Enacted bySenate of the Philippines
PassedJune 4, 1997
Enacted byHouse of Representatives of the Philippines
PassedJune 5, 1997
Signed byFidel V. Ramos, President of the Philippines
SignedJune 6, 1997; 25 years ago (1997-06-06)
CommencedJanuary 1, 1998
Status: In force

Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, defines a trademark as “any visible sign capable of distinguishing goods”. Early jurisprudence has taken it to mean “a sign, device or mark by which the articles produced or dealt in by a particular person or organization are distinguished or distinguishable from those produced or dealt in by others, and must be affixed to goods or articles”.[1]

Defining concepts in trademark law

International sources

On September 27, 1965, the Philippines adopted pertinent provisions of the Lisbon Act[2] of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property by reference as part of the Intellectual Property Code. As a multilateral treaty, the Paris Convention seeks to “protect industrial property … and at the same time repress unfair competition”. It also “provides for the protection of internationally well-known marks” and “applications claiming the priority date of an earlier-filed application in Member Countries”.[3]

Another treaty pertinent to intellectual property rights, particularly trademarks, is the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO), which the Philippines ratified on December 16, 1994, and which treaty took effect only on January 1, 1995.[4] Annexed to this is the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) which aims to “reduce distortions … in international trade … promote effective and adequate protection of intellectual property rights…. [and] adhere to minimum standards of protection set by several conventions.... The TRIPS Agreement seeks to grant adequate protection of intellectual property rights by creating a favorable economic environment to encourage the inflow of foreign investments, and strengthening the multilateral trading system to bring about economic, cultural, and technological independence.”[5]

Statutory bases

The first trademark law in place in the Philippines was that which Queen Maria Cristina of Spain promulgated on October 26, 1888. This law accorded trademark rights to the person who registered first.[6]

This law was replaced on March 6, 1903 by Act No. 666 or the Trademark and Trade Name Law of the Philippine Islands, which abandoned prior registration in favor of actual use of the mark as the basis for trademark rights. The Philippines, being then a territory of the United States, incorporated into Act 666 principles upon which the U.S. trademark law was founded on.[7]

Republic Act No. 166 repealed Act 666 in 1946,[7] and was itself expressly repealed on January 1, 1998 when Republic Act No. 8293[1] was enacted in compliance with the WTO TRIPS Agreement.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b "R.A. 8293". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "Treaties and Contracting Parties". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  3. ^ "WIPO-Administered Treaties: Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "WTO | Trade policy review – The Philippines 1999". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "WTO | intellectual property (TRIPS) – agreement text – preamble". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "IP Views | Trademark Law in a Knotshell: From Caves to Cyberspace". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Philippines – Harvard University Knocks The Pants Off Local Company". Mirandah Asia. August 31, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Pulmano, Rosielyn (1999). "In Search of Compliance with TRIPs against Counterfeiting in the Philippines: When is Enough Enough". Global Business & Development Law Journal. 12.