Philippines

The Philippines features in the IAM Patent 1000 for the second time this year; patent activity continues to increase, catching up with the country’s better-established soft IP market. For the most part, it is international corporations keen to protect their innovations in this burgeoning economy which are instructing the country’s legal practitioners; native R&D is still in its infancy. Although grants are on the rise, enforcement is no mean feat: the dearth of scientifically trained judges in the Philippines judiciary remains a real problem for rights holders.

Firms

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Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose
EB Astudillo & Associates
Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices
Quisumbing Torres
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan
Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
With a deep bench of technical experts and globally trained professionals on hand, business law powerhouse ACCRALAW is a magnet for global companies seeking to strengthen their rights in the Philippines. A prolific filer of national and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, the firm also shines bright in complex IP management, litigation and transactions; advising on food and drug regulations is another forte. Alex Ferdinand Fider is a pillar of the practice; the assiduous enforcer also has a flair for exploiting the commercial value of patents. The well-rounded Richmond Lee is “highly experienced, intimately familiar with the law and always practical in his recommendations”; Lee represents several marquee names in the automotive industry.
Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
Rouse’s Filipino affiliate works fluidly across borders and consistently delivers to the highest international standards; it is consistently relied on for clear, straightforward guidance and timely, flawless output. Though best known for its deft execution on in-bound prosecution briefs, the versatile practice resolves tricky IP conundrums on either side of the contentious/non-contentious divide. Epitomising this versatility is managing partner Edmund Baranda, a lawyer and patent agent with a 360-degree understanding of intellectual assets; the molecular biology maven is especially popular with life sciences clients.
Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose
Eminent commercial law outfit Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose knows how best to maximise the business impact of IP rights; helping clients to maintain and expand market share through its stellar prosecution efforts, it also optimises the value of patents through judicious licensing deals. Adept across the scientific spectrum, the team has a particular affinity for pharmaceutical and mechanical inventions; related regulatory advice is another strong suit. Time-tested corporate lawyer Noel Laman has many strings to his bow; having chalked up more than four decades’ experience in IP and other branches of law, he can find elegant solutions to the most taxing patent puzzles.
EB Astudillo & Associates
EB Astudillo & Associates began life as a general practice, but has since evolved into an IP-focused ensemble; most highly celebrated for its copyright and trademark prowess, it also cuts an impressive figure on the patent landscape. Flexibility and attentiveness are hallmarks of its service; the firm, although compact, has the necessary resources and know-how to dispatch even the most challenging mandates with poise. These qualities have won it the loyalty of an enviable client roster, which includes A-listers such as Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline. Name partner Enrico Astudillo is adept at both in prosecution and litigation, with a particular penchant for the agricultural, automotive and life sciences industries.
Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices
Agile one-stop patent shop Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices is a safe pair of hands for prosecution, portfolio management and IP-rich transactions. It has an especially glittering reputation among innovative pharmaceutical companies, which it helps to navigate the pitfalls of the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act. Ramon Esguerra leads the firm.
Quisumbing Torres
Baker McKenzie’s member firm in the Philippines, Quisumbing Torres combines intimate familiarity with the local legal environment with access to an unsurpassed global IP network. The team in Manila not only can call upon some of the world’s greatest legal minds, but also capitalises on the firm’s sophisticated online support systems to superb effect. Proffering made-to-measure solutions across the patent lifecycle, Quisumbing Torres proves particularly adroit at enforcement and oppositions. A dab hand at masterminding such campaigns, Bienvenido Marquez also makes light work of procurement briefs. Colleague Divina Pastora Ilas-Panganiban serves as vice president and director of the national chapter of the Licensing Executives Society International, and as co-chair of the American Chamber of Commerce IP Committee; unsurprisingly, she is a go-to for patent commercialisation.
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles
Providing a comprehensive service encompassing intellectual property and adjacent areas of law, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles is perhaps most hailed for its creative yet reliable portfolio stewardship. The Philippines’ exclusive Lex Mundi member, it never fails to satisfy the demands of the most discerning international clients and enjoys a steady flow of instructions from 160 associate firms. Benjamin Lerma is a key contact.
Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan
Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan is home to engineer-lawyer Ignacio Sapalo, one of the most accomplished patent professionals in the country. A former director of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, he knows precisely how to get unassailable patents granted. An influential figure in many industry and professional associations, Sapalo also teaches at the Ateneo School of Law. The team he presides over provides an A-to-Z patent offering to a slew of domestic and foreign innovators. The Philippines’ largest general service firm, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan gives bravura performances on knotty contentious and non-contentious mandates for myriad blue-chips. It has cultivated a particularly prestigious clientele in the electronics and pharmaceuticals sectors, including Sony, Bose, Dyson, Pfizer, Roche and Abbvie. Heading the charge, seasoned professional Enrique Manuel brings a sure touch to the most difficult campaigns; while Licensing Executives Society treasurer Vida Panganiban-Alindogan smoothly brokers lucrative transactions and is a crucial ally in hard-fought disputes.

Individuals

Enrico Astudillo - EB Astudillo & Associates
Edmund Baranda - Baranda & Associates, an affiliated law firm to Rouse
Alex Ferdinand Fider - Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
Divina Pastora V Ilas-Panganiban - Quisumbing Torres
Noel A Laman - Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose
Richmond K Lee - Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)
Enrique T Manuel - SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
Bienvenido A Marquez III - Quisumbing Torres
Vida M Panganiban-Alindogan - SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan
Ignacio S Sapalo - Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan
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Issue 85