Message from the Director General
The year 2012 has been a banner year for the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
We have made significant inroads as catalyst for creativity and innovation. We have improved IP protection and enforcement. We have continued to realize our strategic goals as we move forward to achieving a demystified, democratized, and development-oriented IP system by 2020 (3D IP by 2020). Groundbreaking projects were successfully concluded, and for these, we can proudly say that 2012 is one of our best years.
One of our greatest milestones is the Philippines’ membership to the Madrid Protocol, with the signing by President BenignoS. Aquino III of the instrument of accession on 27 March 2012. The Madrid Protocol is an essential tool that will open the doors for Filipino entrepreneurs seeking to expand into international markets.
Another major accomplishment is the full deployment of the Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS). For the first time in the history of the IPOPHL, we are using a fully automated system to process utility model, industrial design, patent, and trademark applications from end-to-end. IPAS, coupled with more internal reforms, is expected to result in a more efficient IPOPHL that will be able to better deliver timely and quality IP registration services. With the IPOPHL being the first IP Office in Asia to use the latest version of IPAS, the Philippines is now at par with the rest of the modern economies that are currently using state of the art technology in the registration of patents and trademarks.
We continue to ensure that we are able to provide speedy and effective legal remedies. The turnaround time for the adjudication of IP cases has decreased significantly--decisions on IP violation cases are issued in less than a year and 1.3 yearsfor Inter partes cases. Our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is now in place and is expected to be the forum of choice for the resolution of IP dispute. We are the only IP Office in Asia with two ADR mechanisms, Mediation and Arbitration.
At the close of 2012, we have supported the establishment of sixty-four Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSOs) in universities, research and development institutions, and other organizationsall over the country. The IPOPHL continuously provides technical assistance so that the ITSOs can become effective patent service providers that can providereliable patent searches, draft patent claims, and provide advice and over-all IP management in their respective communities.
The goal to institutionalize copyright services in the IPOPHL will soon be realized with the submission for the President’s signature the bill amending the Intellectual Property Code. The passage of the bill into law will provide the IPOPHL with the means to better serve the needs of the copyright-based industries and stakeholders through the Bureau of Copyright. Special fair use exemption for the non-commercial reproduction of works for use by visually impaired persons is also provided in the bill. The IPOPHL will also be granted visitorial powers that will allow it to perform a more significant role in enforcement with the support of agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Optical Media Board (OMB) and Local Government Units (LGUs).
As part of the IPOPHL’s efforts at a more development-oriented IP system, a project on Geographical Indications (Gis) has been initiated. Eight pilot products have been included in the project--Aklan Piña Cloth,BatangasBarako Coffee, Bicol Pili Nut,BonoanBangus (Milkfish), Cebu Dried Mangoes,Guimaras Fresh Mangoes, Lake SebuT’nalak, and Lumban Barong. In addition to GIs,the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) within the IP system is currently being studied.
The IPOPHL prepared for ISO accreditation, and has recently been considered certifiable to ISO 9001:2008.
For the first time, the highest-ranking officer of the World Intellectual Property organization (WIPO), Director General Francis Gurry, visited the country. To highlight the importance of IP in the country, President Noynoy Aquino received Dr. Gurry in Malacanan Palace. Two other high-ranking WIPO officers visited the country—Assistant Director General Yo Takagi and Deputy Director General Geoffrey Onyeama.
On the enforcement area, the Philippines was delisted from the Notorious Markets determinedby the Office of the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) in the Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets dated December 13, 2012. The Philippines has been on the list in the last six (6) years.
Also in 2012, yours truly was voted as one of the most influential people in the world of intellectual property in the July/August 2012 issue of Managing Intellectual Property magazine. The magazine is the leading resource for IP news and analysis in the world published by Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC. The Managing IP’s Top 50 most influential people issue picks out individuals shaping the IP industry worldwide.
Indeed, we have accomplished quite a lot and we are proud of what 2012 has given us. But while 2012 has ended, another year beckons. 2013 will be more challenging as we try to equal, if not surpass the milestones of 2012.
To the men and women of the IPOPHL, I am truly proud of your hard work, perseverance, and commitment in continuing to work towards the development of the IP system. May we remain steadfast in pursuing our goal of a 3D IP by 2020!