IPOPHL taps world heritage wonder to spur innovation and creativity in Northwestern Luzon

Published on November 22, 2019

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has chosen Vigan City, declared a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, to host its 16th ever Intellectual Property Satellite Office (IPSO) in the country. 

IPSOs are offices set up in provinces with the intent to provide IPOPHL's services beyond its headquarters in Metro Manila. The new office will be housed at the 2nd floor of the Conservation Complex, Liberation Boulevard, Vigan Ilocos Sur. 

"The establishment of an IPSO in Vigan is envisioned to strengthen IPOPHL presence in the Ilocos Region and to address the need to heighten the appreciation of Ilocandia’s MSMEs and other IP stakeholders on the effective use of the IP system," said IPOPHL Director General Atty. Josephine R. Santiago, who led the inauguration of the new office on Friday, Nov. 22. 

The capital of the province of Ilocos Sur, Vigan City is one of the Philippines' oldest and best preserved towns. It is known for its strategic safeguarding of its heritage, as can be manifested alone in the town's architecture; the structures conform mostly to Hispanic style but hints of influences from its Filipino, Ilocano, Chinese, and other European roots. This, the city of Vigan successfully does, by engaging the local community and stakeholders. 

As a result of the influx of tourists, Vigan turned into a thriving hub of business opportunities especially for micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) and local artisans. As of 2018, the Ilocos Region is brimming with 48,000 MSMEs and around 1, 500 cooperatives who are both potential users of the IP system. 

Its great attraction for business activities makes Vigan a major economic driver to Region 1 or the Ilocos Region, which in itself is a strategic area as the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway has made it accessible to many other parts of Luzon. 

Also, the region has direct access to international sea lanes and is strategically located in East Asia given its proximity to some Asian economies such as Japan, Taiwan, Korean, and southern China.   

In 2018, total IP filings in the Ilocos Region grew 27% to 167 from 131 in 2017. Applications for utility models posted the biggest gain, jumping 33% to 56 from 42; trademark edged up 15% to 97 from 84; invention expanded 2% to nine from six; and design, likewise, grew 2% to five from two.

"We hope the IPSO in Vigan further uplifts the economy of the Ilocos Region, particularly in spurring homegrown innovations by giving local MSMEs and higher education institutions a competitive advantage, in the form of IP tools, to achieve their desired levels of success," DG Santiago added. 

"Partnerships with local government units and other relevant agencies like the regional and provincial offices of the DTI and the Department of Science and Technology, and relevant stakeholders from the business sector and the academe are important to enhance the innovative capacity of the region and further fuel economic activity through the effective use of the intellectual property system," the IPOPHL chief added. 

An initiative that began in 2008, the launching of IPSOs has the primary objective of embracing inclusive growth through enabling those in the countryside to contribute in the national economic goals by capitalizing on their innovative and creative minds. 

Under DG Santiago's term, the IPSO network has expanded to 16 from 11 in 2014.