Expanding innovation-fostering society drives PH's 19-notch leap in 2019 GII ranking

Published on July 27, 2019

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has expressed delight with the results of the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) report, viewing the Philippines' huge improvement in both ranking and score as the concretising of the country's efforts to put innovation at the center of its economic, socio-cultural, and scientific development.

"We welcome the positive results, especially the ranking improvements of indicators that were influenced by the intellectual property (IP) system. These are mostly under the pillars of Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Diffusion, Intangible Assets, and Creative Goods and Services," IPOPHL Director-General Josephine R. Santiago said.

“One of our national priority agenda is innovation. But It is not often understood how IP adds value and enhances innovation, and how this can be used as a competitive strategic tool by innovators and creators,” Santiago added.

In recent years, the IPOPHL has been doubling down in conducting seminars, workshops, and conferences which gather the academia and the industry and encourage them to collaborate toward establishing alliances that will be impactful to society. The office has also been introducing new programs and improving on those that bear fruit in terms of attracting potential IP applicants, giving ease to clients, and helping innovators see their inventions and creations commercialised.

The 2019 GII report showed that the country is now placed within the top 42% innovative economies, pulling it closer to the frontier as compared to the past four years when it has annually been within the 60% top countries. This, as the Philippines landed 54th from 73rd in the previous report, making the country the most improved among its peers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Philippines also entered for the first time into the group of innovation achievers—economies that outperformed on innovation relative to GDP—for 2019 as it booked above-average scores in all innovation dimensions, with the exception of market sophistication, relative to its lower-middle-income peers.

On the sub-indices, the Philippines’ Input ranking jumped to 76th from 82nd, while Output saw a bigger hike, rising to 42nd from 68th.

“Despite the weaknesses recorded in the Innovation Input, which make up the enabling factors such as internet infrastructure, R&D spending, we were able to deliver by engaging innovation- and creativity-promoting activities much more than we were expected given the gaps in our Input. This shows how efficient the Philippine strategy is and we should sustain this momentum as, despite the huge improvement, we remain far from the level of innovation we want adopted in this country,” said Eric T. Lanado, director of IPOPHL’s Office for Strategy Management.

As a result of the country’s efficiency, the Philippines was among the 33 other economies that delivered "above expectations for level of development." 

Lanado noted that the IP system played a key role in driving the Innovation Output index. This covers the Knowledge and Technology Outputs pilar, which jumped to 31st from 49th, and the Creative Outputs pillar, which was pushed up to 63rd from 92nd. 

Specifically, ranking improvements were recorded in these sub-pillars and below are some IP-related factors that possibly helped lead to the said achievements:

  • University-Industry Research Collaboration indicator (25th from 56th) under the Innovation Linkage pillar (71st from 93rd) which falls under the Innovation Input. Intensified collaboration in *2018 was made possible by the conduct of more gathering and learning events that served as an avenue for the academe to meet prospective investors. 

Among these was the Enabling Innovation Environment (EIE) for Intellectual Property and Technology Project, the organization of which was led by WIPO. The five-day workshop, first launched in 2017, was initially designed to enable members of the academe to learn about technology licensing. This was eventually expanded to include sessions where researchers are given time to pitch their inventions to participating entrepreneurs. The five-day EIE has been running annually since its launch and has been widening in its reach, with 2019 seeing a record-high number of participants from industry players and IPOPHL’s educational institution partners. 

  • Patents by Origin (82nd from 84th), Patents by the Patent Cooperation Treaty (90th from 97th), and Utility Models (UM) by Origin (15th from 18th) under Knowledge Creation (unchanged at 64th). IPOPHL's data show that UM applications in *2017 grew 20% year-on-year to 1,323. A major driver to this is the establishment and capacity-strengthening of Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSOs), particularly in terms of UM filings, to which ITSOs contributed over half that year.

ITSOs, jointly developed by IPOPHL and universities, colleges, or higher educational institutions, are in-house patent libraries. ITSO-partners also regularly hold patent writeshops to help members of the academe succeed in being granted patents for their applications. They now number 85.

  • Intellectual Property Receipts (87th from 90th) under Knowledge Diffusion (14th from 29th); In *2017, IPOPHL, WIPO, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), and the Societies’ Council for the Collective Management of Performers’ Rights conducted a two-day workshop for collective management organisations (CMOs) to learn more about performers’ and producers’ rights. Experts from WIPO and IFPI discussed international treaties governing the rights of performers and producers; the general principles on the functioning of CMOs, licensing, documentation, and distribution; and issues on organization, resources, membership, transparency, among others. The workshop was aimed particularly to CMOs relatively new to the business to help them 

  • Trademark (TM) applications (75th from 76th) under Intangible Assets (63rd from 83rd)—the Philippines’ TM filings stood as the second-highest among ASEAN members; In 2017, the IPOPHL launched the Juana Make a  Mark system which waived fees for 1,000 women entrepreneurs and micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs that have at least one woman in their teams. 

The success of the Juana Make a Mark has led to its extension. The IPOPHL is mulling over launching a third round for the program. 

The program has also prompted the holding of more seminars to heighten MSMEs’ awareness on the effective use of the TM system.

  • the addition of Creative Goods Exports data (8th) which boosted the Creative Goods and Services (40th from 104th), in turn, leading to the Creative Output pillar (63rd from 92nd) to book the highest jump in ranking among all pillars for the Philippines.

The GII report, this year, titled “Creating Healthy Lives—The Future of Medical Innovation,” is published jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The WIPO is one of the United Nations’ specialized agencies that leads in encouraging creative activity and promoting the protection of intellectual property across the world.


"The IPOPHL expects to improve further in these areas we have advanced in the next GII round. This outlook is made on the basis of new platforms and increased conduct of events that help bridge academe to industry,” DG Santiago said, referring specifically to the Mind2Market program. 

The Mind2Market program, which aims to assist innovators throughout their IP journey, from creation, development to commercialisation, is now gaining ground with the inclusion of three government partners. These are namely the Board of Investments, the Department of Trade and Industry's Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute. 

“A better performance in the next GII is seen also due to the consistent growth in TM filings and a surge in the deposition of creative works and UM applications in 2018," the IPOPHL DG said.

In 2018, recordation of copyrighted works grew 29% year-on-year.  That same year, TM applications and UM filings rose by 16% and 56%, respectively, from 2017 levels. UMs were the biggest driver to the overall 2018 IP filings, which grew 15% annually. 

“Likewise, the agency expects improved scores in patent filings by origin and industrial design (ID) filings on the back of growing demand for the protection of their IP rights, as well as the office's proactive approach in reaching out to stakeholders through the Intellectual Property Satellite Offices which are now spread in 14 provinces,” she added.

Santiago revealed that the IPOPHL will expand the IPSO-network this year by setting up two more in provinces where economic activity is thriving. Santiago also said the IPOPHL will be extending the Juana program, which waives application fees, to patent inventions, UM, and industrial design (ID). 

Last year, patent filings by Philippine residents reached an all-time high of 469. This marked a 65% annual increase and the first time it breached the 300-mark. Meanwhile, ID filings by residents improved by 21% year-on-year. 

The turnaround time for filings to registration or grant has also been seeing a drastic reduction across nearly all IP asset types in recent years. The cut-down of processing time for such transactions, and other related ones, is seen to improve further amid the passage of the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018. This, in turn, will further entice businesses to apply for IP protection.

"The country's remarkable improvement in its GII standing proves the effectivity and efficiency of the IPOPHL's strategy in enabling the academe and the private sector. We have more in the pipeline so the world can expect to see the Philippines climb further to the top," Santiago added. 

*the monitoring period for the sub-pillar