OUR PEOPLE

Mr. Bienvenido “Bong” I. Somera, Jr., graduated from the College of Law of the University of the Philippines in 1985. He also holds a degree in B.S. Business Economics, which he obtained in 1981 from the same University. He joined the Carpio Villaraza & Cruz Law Offices (“CVC Law”) in 1988 and was the Head of its Intellectual Property Department from 2001 until he became CVC Law’s Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer in 2011. He was Managing Partner of CVC Law (renamed in 2013 as “The Firm Villaraza & Angangco” or “V&A Law”) until 2015. He is currently a Senior Partner and Head of V&A Law’s Intellectual Property Department. His areas of expertise are intellectual property law and litigation.
 
Mr. Somera is a respected figure in Philippine intellectual property law. He has been ranked consistently as a leading lawyer in intellectual property law practice by prestigious publications such as Chambers Asia-Pacific, WTR 1000, Legal 500, Lawyer Monthly and Lexology.  In February 2017 he was the sole recipient from the Philippines of the Client Choice International Award for Trademarks. He has published several articles on intellectual property law and served as resource speaker on the subject in the Philippines and international fora. He was also a member of the Editorial Board of the World Patent and Trademark News, an international journal on intellectual property news and articles. Mr. Somera is an active member of various international and Philippine Intellectual Property Law associations, foremost of which are the Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA) where he is a Council Member and erstwhile Vice-President, and the Asean Intellectual Property Association (AIPA) where he served as Councilor until 2012. He is the representative of his Firm in the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI). He was also a former Director of the Intellectual Property Foundation and an officer of the Licensing Executives Society-Philippines (LES). He was a Director and Officer of the Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP), the largest association of intellectual property practitioners in the Philippines, since 1990 and was its President and Chairman from 2003-2007.
 
Mr. Somera was an accredited Mediator for appellate cases having completed his training at the Philippine Judicial Academy of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He was an active member of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA), the oldest voluntary bar association of the Philippines, where he held the positions of Treasurer and First Vice-President.  He has held several positions in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the national organization of all lawyers in the Philippines. He served as chapter officer of the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas Chapter and Makati City Chapter from 1989 to 2015, most notably as Makati City Chapter President from 2013 to 2015. He was Director of the National Committee on Legal Aid of the IBP from 2003-2006.  In May 2015, he was elected Governor of the IBP Southern Luzon Region, the largest regional group in the IBP, a position he holds until May 2017.
 
EDUCATION
 
Bachelor of Laws – University of the Philippines, Class 1985
B.S. Business Economics – University of the Philippines, Class 1981
 
PRESENT POSITION/S
 
  • Senior Partner and Head of the Intellectual Property Department –The Firm Villaraza & Angangco Law
  • Governor – Integrated Bar of the Philippines Southern Luzon Region
  • Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines – Council of Advisers
  • Asian Patent Attorneys Association – Council Member
  • Association for the Protection of Industrial Property – Anti-Counterfeiting Committee Member
  • University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) – Legal Counsel; Director
 
PAST POSITIONS HELD
  • Managing Partner/Chief Operating Officer – Villaraza & Angangco Law (2013-2015)
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines  (Makati City Chapter) – President (2013-2015)
  • Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines – Director and Secretary (1993-1999) President (2003-2004) Chairman (2005-2008)
  • Licensing Executives Society of the Philippines – Director and Vice-President (1994-1999)
  • Council to Combat Counterfeiting  and Piracy of Patents, Copyright and Trademarks (COMPACT) – Director and Secretary (1990-1994)
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines-National Committee on Legal Aid Director (2003-2006)
  • Integrated Bar of the Phlippines, Caloocan City-Malabon-Navotas Chapter – Director (1993-1995), (1997-1999)
  • Philippine Bar Association – First Vice President (2006-2007) Director (2001-2005/ 2006-2007) Treasurer (2001-2002)
 
Membership in Professional, Civic and Cultural Organizations
 
Local
 
  • Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP)
  • Licensing Executives Society (LES)
  • Philippine Bar Association (PBA)
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
  • Sigma Rho Council
 
International
 
  • Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA)
  • Asean Intellectual Property Association (AIPA)
  • International Trademark Association (INTA)
  • Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI)
 
Conferences/Workshops Attended
 
  • Attended 15th  IBP National Convention of Lawyers held in Cebu City on 20-22 March 2015
  • Attended FICPI & JPAA Kyoto Symposium held in Kyoto, Japan on 10-12 April 2013
  • Attended 4th Philippine Ant-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit held in Marriot Hotel, Makati City on 20 Oct. 2013
  • Attended the IPR Leaders Workshop held at Tokyo, Japan on 24-26 March 2003
  • Attended the Southeast Asian Legal Aid Conference held at Phnom, Penh, Cambodia on 25-28 November 2003.
  • Attends international conferences/workshops of Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA), Asean Intellectual Property Association (ASEAN-IPA), International Trademark Association (INTA), and Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI) conducted yearly.
 
Papers/Lectures Delivered
 
  • Lecturer at “The Asia-Pacific Basin; Investments and Opportunities” on 25 November 1994 sponsored by The Alumni of the Academy of American and International Law Philippine Chapter.
  • Lecturer at “Forum On Intellectual Property Rights” on 16 November 1996 sponsored by the National Telecommunications Commission.
  • Lecturer at “Issues and Updates on Internet Domain Names” on 09 August 2000 during the IP Forum 2000 sponsored by Executive Program, Inc. 
  • Lecturer at “IP Enforcement in the Philippines” on 12 March 2004 sponsored by the Intellectual Property Office, Intellectual Property Foundation and Japan External Trade Organization Manila.
  • Lecturer at “IBP Southern Luzon Regional Convention & MCLE Seminar” on 17-20 November 2004 sponsored by IBP Rizal Chapter held at Hotel Pontefino, Batangas City
  • Lecturer at the Intellectual Property Rights Seminar in the Philippines on “Issues Involving Cable Television Piracy in the Philippines” held on 30 October 2008 at Dusit Hotel, sponsored by the Intellectual Property Alumni Association, Inc.
 
Publications
 
  • UPAA Maroon Pride, UPAA Official Magazine – Director-in-Charge
  • World Patent and Trademark News – Member of the Editorial Board 
  • Business Mirror, “On Firm Ground”, a business newspaper in the Philippines - Columnist
Other Notable and Significant Contributions
 
  • Established the Scholarship Program of the Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP) for outstanding and deserving law students of University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and San Beda College.
  • Organized Nationwide Jail Decongestion Program of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
  • Currently represents a major Philippine Petroleum company in their IP Enforcement activities in the Philippines.
  • Currently handles the Philippine trademark and international domain name portfolio of one of the largest banks in the Philippines.
  • Counsels a major Philippine broadcasting network regarding its trademark portfolio and broadcasting and copyright issues.

Somera, Bienvenido I. Jr.

Senior Partner


bi.somera@thefirmva.com