Ones to Watch in IP

Emerging from a modest commercial law practice in downtown Manila at the turn of the 20th century, Romulo Law is today one of the largest and most highly regarded law firms in the Philippines. We spoke to them to find out more about their firm, as well as get their insight on the growing importance of intellectual property.

Our firm offers a highly diverse range of services, including advice and representation in banking and finance, capital markets and securities, energy and infrastructure, immigration, and intellectual property, among others. In total, Romulo Law is composed of more than 90 lawyers, all of whom speak English fluently and a good number of whom have received training and graduate degrees from universities abroad. Our lawyers are also active officers and members of business and civic associations in the Philippines and around the world. Furthermore, the firm is the sole Philippine member of Lex Mundi, a global network of about 160 independent law firms, with a combined total of more than 21,000 lawyers in all commercially significant jurisdictions throughout the world.

In order to describe our firm and explain what we are all about, I think it would be best to quote from a speech given by our managing partner, Ricardo J. Romulo, on occasion of our firm’s anniversary in 1982: “First, we are lawyers above all else and, as such, we must be votaries of the law, and as integral parts of the legal system, we are committed to make it work. Second, we are advocates and, as such, we must within reason defend and protect the legitimate interests of our clients. Third, we are professionals and, as such, we owe it to ourselves and the clientele we serve to pursue at all times the path of excellence, to develop our capabilities to the fullest, and to extend ourselves to the limit. We must bear in mind that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession a duty.”

Throughout the years our firm has continued to grow from strength to strength. In terms of IP, our firm was awarded by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines as the top filer of trademark applications from 2010-2014 and patent applications from 2010- 2014. We expect to be the top filer as well for 2015. We are also heavily involved in the field of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. At the moment, we are experiencing more and more interest in our IP expertise, as companies have only begun recognising the importance of these intangible assets. This is very evident from the increase in number of transactions that are actually driven by IP. In the past, most commercial transactions heavily involve other assets, with IP being a mere afterthought. Today, I have seen an increasing number of transactions whereby the IP is the most coveted asset subject of the transaction.

We firmly believe that companies should do their utmost to safeguard their IP. In many cases, the IP rights of an entity are the most valuable asset they possess. At times, ensuring its protection is as important, or even more important, than its physical assets. From our experience, leaning on the expertise of legal counsel or other experts in the field of IP is crucial to an entity’s ability to protect its IP rights. Third parties have found innovative means of infringing on these rights, and the know-how and experience of legal counsel is absolutely necessary to counter these efforts.

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