IPOPHL launches public-private trademark program to help MSMEs go global
October 7, 2021
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has launched the Juan for the World (JFTW) Program, a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and private-sector backed initiative that will enable 100 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to protect their trademarks and be competitive in global markets.
“We hope to make them realize the opportunities in the global markets and how early protection of trademarks can help them grow their business with ease,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said at the Oct. 7 launch of the program.
From 2012 –– when the Philippines acceded to the Madrid Protocol –– to 2020, IPOPHL recorded some 399 resident registrations under the international filing system. Of this, only 154 or 39% are small entities.
“This low rate is attributable to the lack of financing and know-how on the international trademark application process. Our newest Juan for the World Program will take down all these barriers,” Barba said.
Through the program, IPOPHL aims to assist 100 MSMEs to achieve successful registrations under the Madrid Protocol by end-2024.
‘The global trademark incentive package’
Bureau of Trademark (BOT) Director Jesus Antonio Z. Ros said that IPOPHL will provide assistance throughout the registration process of a JFTW beneficiary and waive the P2,618 handling fee. Meanwhile, private sector partners will cover at least the basic fee — about P49,627 for a colored mark and about P35,888 for a black and white mark.
However, MSMEs approved for the program must be willing to shoulder the additional expenses in the registration such as the supplementary fee (about P5,496); complementary fee (P5,496); individual fee (ranging from P13,000 to 30,000, depending on country of choice); and/or costs to hire trademark agents usually required by laws for foreign filings in case of objections.
“This program provides big savings for MSMEs who are burdened by the overall Madrid Protocol registration fees but would like to protect their marks internationally. We hear stories of local MSME brands being copied in other countries and they feel defeated. With this program, we can protect Filipino brands in several major markets in the world,” Ros said.
“More importantly, aside from international trademark registration, the JFTW Program, through private and public sector partners, will provide beneficiaries with financial and technical business assistance, such as in marketing, management and many more. This makes JFTW the ultimate trademark incentive package to promote Philippine MSMEs’ global expansion,” the BOT chief added.
IPOPHL formalized its tie-up with initial partners for the program –– its mother agency, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) –– through the signing of separate memorandum of agreements (MOAs) on Thursday.
Under the MOAs, IPOPHL will support partners in enhancing their capacity to protect and manage their stakeholders’ or members’ IP rights through enforcement training and advisory assistance.
For its part, the DTI commits to review and endorse MSMEs eligible to the program.
The PFA and any PRA member shall sponsor at least the basic fee for the application under the Madrid Protocol.
Both the DTI and industry partners commit to assist IPOPHL in promoting the use of IP as “valuable business assets.” Specifically, they commit to promote both the “Juana Make a Mark” and the newest “Juan for the World” in encouraging eligible MSMEs to register their trademarks.
“Through their IPs, MSMEs can also add a higher value to their company. The company’s innovation and growth, in turn, can potentially become massive generators in higher-income jobs,” DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.
PRA Chairman Paul A. Santos echoed this, saying trademarks are “a trust seal” to distinguish businesses with high quality products and services.
“Trademarks do not only protect your brand but also foster creativity, innovation and enhance healthy competition… We hope the JFTW program will inspire more Philippine retailers and businesses to register their IPs so we can continue progressing and innovating our products, brands and industries,” Santos said.
PFA President Sherill A. Quintana lauded the program saying “this initiative makes [international registration] more affordable and much easier than what we were doing in the past.” She shared that her company, Orsypa Spa Solutions, Inc., had incurred P200,000 for a single mark in a foreign country as businesses would have to file on their own in each country of preference.
The Madrid Protocol is the international trademark filing system created by the Madrid Union, currently enforced by 109 member-countries. It allows a single, low-cost application for trademark registration in any or all 125 countries which together represent over 80% of global trade.