Bureau of Legal Affairs of the Intellectual Property Office (BLA-IPO) Has Primary Jurisdiction for Patent Infringement


Respondents’ act of filing their complaint originally with the BLA-IPO is already in consonance with the doctrine of primary jurisdiction.

This Court has held that:

[i]n cases involving specialized disputes, the practice has been to refer the same to an administrative agency of special competence in observance of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The Court has ratiocinated that it cannot or will not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal prior to the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact, and a uniformity of ruling is essential to comply with the premises of the regulatory statute administered. The objective of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is to guide a court in determining whether it should refrain from exercising its jurisdiction until after an administrative agency has determined some question or some aspect of some question arising in the proceeding before the court. It applies where the claim is originally cognizable in the courts and comes into play whenever enforcement of the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, has been placed within the special competence of an administrative body; in such case, the judicial process is suspended pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its view.

Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that respondents’ initial filing of their complaint with the BLA-IPO, instead of the regular courts, is in keeping with the doctrine of primary jurisdiction owing to the fact that the determination of the basic issue of whether petitioner violated respondents’ patent rights requires the exercise by the IPO of sound administrative discretion which is based on the agency’s special competence, knowledge and experience (Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. v. Pfizer, Inc. and Pfizer (Phil.), Inc., G.R. No. 167715, November 17, 2010).



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