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Updating of intellectual property code pushed

/ 05:14 AM February 25, 2021

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) lauded efforts to consolidate bills that aim to amend the country’s intellectual property code, a move toward the law’s much-needed modernization.

The consolidation will be undertaken by a Technical Working Group (TWG) created earlier this month by the House Committee on Trade and Industry. The bills being merged are House Bill (HB) 8062, HB 1597 and HB 8620.

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“We would like to thank the proponents of the bills for pushing for the much-needed changes in our current legal IP framework,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As international legal frameworks, standards and best practices are evolving in line with the rapid advances in technology and its resulting globalization, a modernized IP Code will help the Philippines keep step with global trends, making the country more competitive and attractive to foreign investors,” Barba added.

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The IPOPHL chief outlined 17 priority amendment-proposals, which he called on Congress to set its focus on since these would greatly benefit stakeholders and the consuming public.

Among these proposals is to give IPOPHL the power to order the takedown of websites with infringing material and imposing steeper fines. He also proposed a parallel-protection system, wherein inventors can register for a patent grant and simultaneously file a utility model (UM).

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, a UM system provides protection of so-called “minor inventions” through a system similar to the patent system. A UM grants an exclusive right, allowing the right holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention without consent for a limited period of time. Through this, it recognizes the importance of minor improvements of existing products in innovation even though it does not meet the requirements for patentability.

“A parallel-protection will allow inventors to wait and stake a chance for a patent grant while already commercializing their works under UM protection––the UM applications are shorter, taking two to 10 months on average while a substantive examination on patent applications can take a few years,” Barba said.

Barba also urged Congress to give priority to the provisional patent protection, which will give applications immediate protection on the date of filing.

“A provisional patent will protect inventions even while the inventor is still making refinements or is assessing the commercial viability of the invention before undergoing the formal patent application,” Barba said.

IPOPHL is also pushing for the transformation of one of its units into a “Bureau of Innovation and Business Development,” which will promote the use of IP documents and databases for innovation and creativity pursuits as well as increase IP commercialization and technology transfer in the country.

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The institutionalization of its IP Academy, the national center for IP learning, skills training and research, is also part of the priority list.

“Through IPOPHL’s proposed priority amendments, we hope to create an enabling environment that will promote and steer creativity, innovation and development not only for large companies, but more importantly for micro, small and medium enterprises, including start-ups, so the IP system could contribute to the national goal of inclusive and sustainable growth,” Barba said.

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TAGS: intellectual property code, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL)
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