MaSci's Deep Respect for IP Enriches Students' Innovations

September 18, 2019 

The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 flagged Intellectual Property Awareness as one of the key strategies to spurring innovation. Not surprisingly, a group of high school students are doing their share toward the achievement of this national goal. 

“This year, I’m starting work on an anti-diabetic agent,” Leya Senen, a Grade 11 student at the Manila Science High School (MaSci), said without providing further details. This is her second attempt at research. She admits she's currently at an exploratory stage in her research pursuits, which she hopes would take off into a long-term career. 

Although relatively nascent in the research world, Senen views learning the intellectual property (IP) system this early as essential in securing the future gains her unborn inventions may merit. Such cautiousness is also instilled in some 59 other students at MaSci’s Intellectual Property Club which Senen spearheads as president. 

“Students should join clubs like this because it raises awareness on the importance of protecting your intellectual property. Narealise ko po na important ang IP because I do research myself. Sobrang sayang yung effort and gastos mo sa isang project na pwedeng mabalewala kung kukunin lang ng iba,” Senen added. 

For three years, Senen has been an active participant of the IP club, exactly why she was assigned to the leadership post. In high school, you usually get to choose one or two clubs. She plans to spend her senior year with the IP club to continue learning IP and further her advocacies in encouraging other students to understand the system.

"I chose to be with the IP Club because I like being active, and there's a lot to do in raising the youth's awareness of the IP system," Senen said. 

As president, Senen is strategising on active participation in the National Science Technology Week, the one-day Aghambayan festival, and other creativity and innovation-promoting events both in the regional and national level. But MaSci’s IP club took the notch higher when one of its members was invited to an international conference to showcase a work on a three-step biometric security software. 

Donald dela Cruz said the inspiration for his invention stemmed from a tragic incident that happened at home: his family's house was burglarized, stripping them of their possession over items cumulatively worth a sizeable value.

“Di na po sinabi ng parents ko yung amount para po di ako malungkot lalo,” dela Cruz said. The incident also led to his realisation that security should be given premium in the national scene, further encouraging him to take action on the matter. 

Dela Cruz shared that his research and development stretched to six months, with 90% of the effort devoted to research. 

“Very strict po tayo sa copyright so nagresearch po ako to ensure zero-piracy,” the 15-year-old dela Cruz said. His respect for IP began to be cultivated when he became part of MaSci’s IP club in 2018. 

“Dito, na-encourage po ako na hindi mag-copypaste,” he said. 

MaSci’s aggressive push for its students to protect their IPs

Dela Cruz, Senen and 18 other members of MaSci’s IP club were participants at the August 23 IP LEAP seminar which then tackled the patent system. Students raised questions mostly concentrated on the application procedure. 

Senen said she aims to hold or engage IP Club members in an educational activity at least once every month. The LEAP IP may now be a regular one for them. 

“Naappreciate ng mga students yung lecture. This is encouraging kasi natutunan din namin na hindi naman pala ganun katagal mag-papatent,” Preciosa Bautista, MaSci’s IP Club adviser, said. 

“Ang ultimate goal kasi talaga namin makapagpatent at makadeposit ng literary work,” Bautista added.

At present, MaSci has one pending application, particularly in industrial design which is currently at the description stage. MaSci will be sending a second batch of IP club members to one of the IP Leap seminars, particularly that which would be covering industrial designs, slated for this month. The MaSci applicant for the industrial design, a Grade 8 student, will be among the participants. 

MaSci is one of the seven high schools part of the Young IP Advocates (YIPA) and is among the most active member in IP awareness. 

YIPA is a program which aims to cultivate a culture of respect for IP rights among the youth. 

Having IP education and awareness in the curricula of local schools is among its ambitions. Although a number of universities and higher education institutions already incorporate IP into their program, the YIPA vision is to have IP subjects as early as at the elementary level. 

After all, if the government is to make innovators out of these students, it is only necessary that they educate them of the IP system which is a promising way for inventors to seek not only a return of R & D capital but also earn for what could be a livelihood. 

IP education will also teach students how to respect creators and inventors by recognizing the hard work that comes with their creations and inventions. YIPA advocates are encouraged to exercise respect for them by not purchasing counterfeit, not using pirated software, among many other ways some people might think are little but actually stand for what respect for IP actually means. YIPA members such as MaSci are definitely unwavering to achieve the goals of this promising program.