Thursday, December 12, 2013

Search warrants issued under Sections 155 and 168, both in relation to Section 170 of Republic Act (RA) No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines contra-distinguished from those issued under A.M. No. 02-1-06-SC ( Rules on the Issuance of the Search and Seizure in Civil Actions for Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights issued by the Supreme Court) and from those issued under Rule 126 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

"x x x.

The applications for the issuance of the assailed search warrants were
for violations of Sections 155 and 168, both in relation to Section 170 of
Republic Act (RA) No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property
Code of the Philippines. Section 155, in relation to Section 170, punishes
trademark infringement; while Section 168, in relation to Section 170,
penalizes unfair competition, to wit:

Sec 155. Remedies; Infringement. – Any person who shall, without
the consent of the owner of the registered mark:
155.1 Use in commerce any reproduction, counterfeit, copy
or colorable imitation of a registered mark or the same
container or a dominant feature thereof in connection with
the sale, offering for sale, distribution, advertising of any
goods or services including other preparatory steps necessary to carry out the sale of any goods or services on
or in connection with which such use is likely to cause
confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive; or


Sec. 168. Unfair Competition, Rights, Regulation and Remedies. -

x x x x

168.3. In particular, and without in any way limiting the
scope of protection against unfair competition, the
following shall be deemed guilty of unfair competition:
(a) Any person, who is selling his goods and gives them the
general appearance of goods of another manufacturer or
dealer, either as to the goods themselves or in the wrapping
of the packages in which they are contained, or the devices
or words thereon, or in any other feature of their
appearance, which would be likely to influence purchasers
to believe that the goods offered are those of a
manufacturer or dealer, other than the actual manufacturer
or dealer, or who otherwise clothes the goods with such
appearance as shall deceive the public and defraud another
of his legitimate trade, or any subsequent vendor of such
goods or any agent of any vendor engaged in selling such
goods with a like purpose;


SEC. 170. Penalties. - Independent of the civil and administrative
sanctions imposed by law, a criminal penalty of imprisonment from two
(2) years to five (5) years and a fine ranging from Fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000.00) to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) shall be
imposed on any person who is found guilty of committing any of the acts
mentioned in Section 155 [Infringement], Section 168 [Unfair
Competition] and Subsection 169.1 [False Designation of Origin and False
Description or Representation].

Thus, we agree with the CA that A.M. No. 02-1-06-SC, which
provides for the Rules on the Issuance of the Search and Seizure in Civil
Actions for Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights, is not applicable in
this case as the search warrants were not applied based thereon, but in
anticipation of criminal actions for violation of intellectual property rights
under RA 8293. It was established that respondent had asked the NBI for
assistance to conduct investigation and search warrant implementation for
possible apprehension of several drugstore owners selling imitation or
counterfeit TOP GEL T.G. & DEVICE OF A LEAF papaya whitening soap.
Also, in his affidavit to support his application for the issuance of the search warrants, NBI Agent Furing stated that “the items to be seized will be used
as relevant evidence in the criminal actions that are likely to be instituted.”

Hence, Rule 126 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure applies.

Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, which governs the issuance
of the assailed Search Warrants, provides, to wit:

SEC. 3. Personal property to be seized. - A search warrant may be
issued for the search and seizure of personal property:

(a) Subject of the offense;
(b) Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of
the offense; or
(c) Used or intended to be used as the means of
committing an offense.

SEC. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. - A search warrant
shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific
offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce,
and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be
seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.

SEC. 5. Examination of complainant; record. - The judge must,
before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching
questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to
the record their sworn statements together with the affidavits submitted.

A core requisite before a warrant shall validly issue is the existence of a probable cause, meaning “the existence of such facts and circumstances
which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place to be searched.”26 And when the law speaks of facts, the reference is to facts, data or information personally known to the applicant and the witnesses he may present. Absent the element of personal knowledge by the applicant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified, the warrant is deemed not based on probable cause and is a nullity, its issuance being, in legal contemplation, arbitrary.27 The determination of probable cause does not call for the application of rules and standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits.28 As implied by the words themselves, "probable cause" is concerned with probability, not absolute or
even moral certainty. The prosecution need not present at this stage proof beyond reasonable doubt. The standards of judgment are those of a
reasonably prudent man,29 not the exacting calibrations of a judge after a full-blown trial.30

x x x."

See -
G.R. No. 188526. November 11, 2013
Century Chinese Medicine Co., et al. Vs. People of the Philippines and Ling Na Lau