Answer ... For civil actions for patent infringement filed with the courts, once the court receives the verified complaint, it will then serve summons to the respondent, which will have 30 days to file the verified answer. Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint, the court shall render judgment as may be warranted by the allegations in the complaint. A party can avail of any of the modes of discovery not later than 30 calendar days from the joinder of issues.
Within five calendar days of the end of the period for availing of or compliance with any of the modes of discovery, whichever comes later, the handling court will immediately issue a notice setting the case for pre-trial and directing the parties to submit their pre-trial briefs. The parties must file with the court and furnish each other copies of their pre-trial briefs in such a manner as to ensure receipt by the court and the other party at least five calendar days before the date set for the pre-trial. Before the pre-trial, the court will require the marking of documentary or object evidence by the branch clerk of court or any authorised court personnel. The pre-trial will be terminated not later than 30 calendar days after its commencement.
On the day of termination of the pre-trial, the court will issue a pre-trial order to refer the parties for mandatory court-annexed mediation. The period for court-annexed mediation will not exceed 30 calendar days and is non-extendible. If the court-annexed mediation fails and the judge is convinced that settlement is still possible, the case may be referred to another court for judicial dispute resolution. JDR will be conducted within a non-extendible period of 15 calendar days from notice of the JDR court of the failure of the court-annexed mediation. The period for JDR is non-extendible and must not exceed 15 calendar days. If judicial dispute resolution fails, trial before the original court shall proceed.
For administrative actions for patent infringement filed with the Bureau of Legal Affairs of IPOPHL, once the bureau receives the verified complaint, it will serve summons or notice to answer to the respondent. The summons will require the respondent to answer the complaint within 10 days of receipt of the summons.
The respondent must answer the complaint in writing by either specifically denying the material allegations of the complaint or alleging any affirmative defences. If the respondent fails to answer within the time allowed, the hearing officer will declare the respondent in default. The hearing officer will then proceed to render judgment granting the complainant such relief as the complainant’s pleading may warrant, unless he or she requires the complainant to submit evidence.
Upon joinder of issues, the hearing officer will set the pre-trial conference immediately. The notice of pre-trial will require the parties to submit their pre-trial briefs. The failure of the complainant to submit its pre-trial brief or to appear at the pre-trial will constitute cause for dismissal of the action with prejudice. On the other hand, failure on the part of the respondent will constitute cause to declare the respondent as in default, to allow the complainant to present evidence ex parte and to allow the hearing officer to render judgment on the basis thereof.
After the pre-trial, the hearing officer will make an order that recites the action taken at the conference, the amendments allowed to the pleadings and the agreements made by the parties as to any of the matters considered. This order will limit the issues for trial to those not disposed of by admissions or agreements of counsel and, when entered, controls the subsequent course of the action.
For criminal actions for patent infringement, the complaint-affidavit must be filed with the Office of the Prosecutor that has jurisdiction over the offence charged. Within 10 calendar days of filing of the complaint, the investigating prosecutor may dismiss the case outright for being patently without basis or merit and order the release of the accused, if in custody, and/or seized articles in custody, if any.
If the complaint is not dismissed, the investigating prosecutor will issue an order to the respondent requiring the respondent to submit the respondent’s counter-affidavit. The investigating prosecutor may set a hearing if there are facts and issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be present at the hearing, but without the right to examine or cross-examine. They may, however, submit to the investigating prosecutor questions that may be asked to the party or witness concerned. The investigating prosecutor will then determine whether there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial. If there is ground to hold the respondent for trial, an information will be filed with the court that has jurisdiction over the territory in which any of the elements of the offence occurred.
The judge will personally evaluate the information, together with the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting documents. The judge may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If the judge finds probable cause, a warrant of arrest will be issued. A commitment order will be issued if the accused has already been arrested. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five calendar days of notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within 15 calendar days of presentation of the additional evidence.
Once the court has acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused, the arraignment of the accused and the pre-trial will be set simultaneously. Before the pre-trial, the court will require the marking of documentary or object evidence by the branch clerk of court or any authorised court personnel. The pre-trial will be terminated within 30 calendar days of the date of its commencement. Should a party desire to present additional judicial affidavits as part of its direct evidence, the party must so manifest during the pre-trial stating the purpose thereof. If allowed by the court, the additional judicial affidavits must be submitted to the court and served on the adverse party not later than five calendar days after termination of the pre-trial.
If the prosecution presents additional judicial affidavits, the accused may file its judicial affidavits and serve the same on the prosecution within five calendar days of such service. If the counsel for the accused or the prosecutor does not appear at the pre-trial and does not offer an acceptable excuse, the court is authorised to impose any and all available sanctions and penalties that are allowed under existing and relevant rules of procedure.
On the day of termination of the pre-trial, the court must issue a pre-trial order and the judge must order the parties to appear before the Philippine Mediation Centre for court-annexed mediation on the civil aspect of the criminal action for a non-extendible period of 30 calendar days. After the lapse of the mediation period or if mediation fails, the trial will proceed.