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The role of technology continues to rise especially in this time of the pandemic, where people are advised to work and learn from home and minimize face-to-face contacts and instead communicate through remote arrangements.  Even settlement of legal disputes is now being encouraged, if not mandated, to be done online.

With this, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has mandated the conduct of mediation services online from end-to-end to settle IP disputes.  While parties may still opt for face-to-face mediations, this is subject to the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) Director’s approval.

IPOPHL may be the first government agency to implement an end-to-end online mediation from referral or filing of requests up to the submission of settlement agreement or termination, according to BLA Director Nathaniel Arevalo. 

IPOPHL has also said that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Option for mediation has been revived, which would benefit those with IP-related disputes in multiple jurisdictions. The WIPO-Arbitration and Mediation Center (AMC) has waived its $100 administration fee and reduced the mediators’ fee to Php 4,000, same rate as IPOPHL’s mediation fee, to encourage more parties to avail of the WIPO option. 

Please check these out:

Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-047 or the Amendments to the Revised Rules on Mediation:

MC 2020-048 or the Amendment to the Rules of Procedure for IPOPHL Mediation Outside of Litigation:



A regular employment is an arrangement where the employee has been engaged to perform work which is usually necessary in the business of the employer. If the work is usually necessary in the business of the employer, the presumption is that the employment is one of regular employment, unless there is an arrangement to the contrary, like that of a probationary employment or that of a project employment. 

A probationary employment is that where the employee is on a trial basis, during which he has to meet the reasonable standards made known to him at the time of hiring, in order to qualify for regularization.  A project employment is that where the employee is engaged for a specific project, the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of hiring.  While a probationary employment should not exceed a period of 6 months, a project employment is coterminous with the duration or completion of the project.  

In a probationary employment, the employer, before or upon the end of the probation, has to make a decision whether or not to regularize the probationary employee based on the former’s assessment of the latter’s performance. In a project employment, the completion of the project shall bring about the end of the project employment. 

Indeed, consistent with the employer’s prerogative to select whom to hire, the employer has the discretion to put a new employee under probation first before giving him regular status. In certain cases, the employer is also allowed to hire an employee on a temporary basis, such as for a particular project or a limited undertaking.

To be clear, the employer should specifically spell out the employment status at the time of hiring, especially when the arrangement is one for probation or for project, and then  see to it that the terms of the arrangement are being observed from the time of hiring up to the end of the contract or employment.  In the end, the validity of the arrangement shall be tested based on its consistency with our labor laws.