IPOPHL Highlights Positive Developments in the Philippine IP System at 59th General Assembly of WIPO Members

Published on October 4, 2019

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), expressed its positive outlook on the innovation progress of the Philippines before fellow World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) members at their 59th General Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland last Oct. 2, citing as among the factors IPOPHL's successive and continuing gains in promoting a robust and well-balanced intellectual property system in the Philippines. 

IPOPHL Director-General Josephine R. Santiago laid as evidence to the country's projected innovation growth the Global Competitiveness Report 2018-2019 in which the Philippines was ranked within the top 40 globally. Specifically, the country was placed 12th worldwide for the Number of Disruptive Businesses and 15th for Growth of Innovative Companies.

DG Santiago also cited the 2019 Global Innovation Index where the Philippines appears for the first time in the group of innovation achievers, having leapfrogged 19 notches from the previous rankings and scoring above average in nearly all innovation dimensions relative to its lower-middle-income peers.

"Inspired by past gains, the Philippines sustained its efforts in advancing innovation and promoting intellectual property in the whole spectrum from creativity to enforcement through various strategies and programs.  We are bullish in our financial outlook and our capability to maximize the opportunities that the 4th Industrial Revolution ushers in," DG Santiago said. 

IPOPHL’s Significant Strides on the National Level

The IPOPHL Chief also revealed the Office's advancements in its push to update and enhance the IP law of more than two decades.

"We have recently submitted to Congress the proposed New Intellectual Property Act, a priority bill of our Department of Trade and Industry. We envisage that this measure will address policy issues and the impacts of technological developments on IP administration and enforcement; strengthen the Intellectual Property Office to support and drive inclusive innovation; allow disruption of operations of digital online violators of IP; increase penalties for violation of IP rights, among important proposals," she added.

The IPOPHL also notified WIPO Members of its continuing work to improve its in-house services, such as promoting mediation and arbitration as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. In mediation alone, IPOPHL continues to successful deliver its mediation services as evidenced by the fairly good settlement rate of 45.4% averaging in the five years through 2018. The Office expects to see this number improve with the recent implementation of its Mediation Outside Litigation Service.

IPOPHL also tackled its intense work with the judiciary to fasttrack the disposal of IP rights violation-related cases lodged at the courts. 

"We have started our work in amending the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure for Intellectual Property Rights Cases promulgated in 2011 to make it more relevant and responsive to the challenges and developments on IP rights enforcement and litigation. We expect the new Rules to be effective first quarter of 2020," DG Santiago said.

Further, the IPOPHL chief touted the country’s advancements in Enforcement. The intensified measures of the interagency National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights bore fruit when it seized P13.73 billion worth of counterfeit goods in January to July this year. This is almost 60% of the full-year 2018's haul of P23. 6 billion worth of goods. 

IPOPHL also floated its gains in advancing and shifting the focus of IP awareness from informing to involving as much government-partners in the education sector into its advocacy work. It has recently concretized partnerships with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) through the inking Memorandums of Agreement, to effectively build a national culture of innovation and develop consciousness in respecting IP rights in a wider scale. 

To this end, DG Santiago also proudly announced the successful conclusion of the Summer School in Southeast Asia which the IP Academy and WIPO Academy jointly organized and held in Manila last month. 

IPOPHL's bigger role in the international IP system

IPOPHL notified members of the deposition of its instrument of accession to the Marrakesh Treaty last December 2018 and its nearing completion of the regulations on this.

The Philippines also reported on the start of its operations as an International Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty last May 20, 2019; its receipt of the first request for International Search Report from the University of the Philippines Manila, a member of our Technology and Innovation Support Centers which is more commonly known in the Philippines as Innovation Technology Support Offices (ITSOs); and the expanding network of ITSOs, now 94, at higher educational and research development institutions all over the country. 

"We are now transitioning towards a reengineered ITSO 2.0, primarily improving the incentive system and other operational issues besetting the educational system to work toward the attraction of more patent applications and grants," DG Santiago said. 

The Philippines also expressed support for WIPO's important work in tackling protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and  genetic resources. 

To stress the importance of preserving national culture and promoting traditional knowledge, the Philippine delegation invited WIPO members to head to the country's Weaving Exhibit and Demonstration of pineapple fiber showcased at the Geneva Exhibit which is among the activities held alongside the Assembly. Through the exhibit the Philippines was able to feature its traditional skills and art of Filipino weavers and designers. 

IPOPHL also expressed hopes to move forward on the fundamental issues on the draft of the Broadcasting Treaty and draft Design Law Treaty, and remains positive about the prospect of a Diplomatic Conference once a suitable level of readiness is reached

DG Santiago concluded with an expression of gratitude to WIPO and the Philippines' bilateral partners, looking forward to further deepen collaboration throughout the work in promoting the IP System.