The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (“IPO”) has issued its Revised Rules on Mediation Proceedings, amending Office Order No. 154, Series of 2010 which governed the rules on the referral of cases to mediation. The Revised Rules on Mediation Proceedings shall take effect thirty (30) days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation and posting in the IPOPHL website, or on 05 October 2018.

The key changes in the Revised Rules on Mediation Proceedings are as follows:

Old Rules

Revised Rules

Absence of any Party During Mediation

Under the Old Rules, a party absent in the succeeding mediation proceedings may be required to reimburse the other party up to treble the costs incurred, together with the attorney’s fees, for that day, if circumstances so warrant and upon proper motion to the Mediation Head.

A party may be excused for non-appearance in any mediation proceeding only once, including the pre-mediation conference, and only if a valid cause or explanation is submitted through a motion together with the payment of fee therefor within five (5) days after the mediation meeting.

Period to Settle Disputes

Under the Old Rules, the mediator shall declare the mediation unsuccessful and terminate the proceedings upon lapse of the sixty (60)-day period from referral of the case to the IPO Mediation Office to settle, which is extendible for up to thirty (30) additional days.

Under the Revised Rules, the sixty (60)-day settlement period and the thirty (30)-day extension period are retained.

A new provision was added allowing the parties to file a written request or motion with the originating bureau/office, together with the payment of applicable fees, for extension of time to finalize an agreement, in meritorious instances, wherein the parties are already finalizing the terms and conditions of their settlement and/ or completing legal and formal requirements in relation thereto, or any analogous circumstances.

Thereafter, the originating bureau/office shall evaluate the request or motion taking into account the extension of time sought and the possibility of successful settlement.

Mediation Fees

Under the Old Rules, each party shall be charged an amount of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) upon filing of the case as mediation fee. This payment shall cover two (2) sessions of mediation conference at a maximum of two (2)  hours per session. After the initial two (2) sessions, the succeeding sessions shall require additional payments of payments of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) each.

Each party shall pay a non-refundable fee of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00). The initial payment will entitle the parties to have four (4) sessions at a maximum of one (1) hour per session. Additional session may be held subject to payments of an extension fee of Two Thousand (P 2,000.00) Pesos each party. The extension fee will entitle the parties to two (2) one-hour sessions.

The full text of the Revised Rules may be accessed here.

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