PH assumes chairmanship of ASEAN intellectual property cooperation group 

April 5, 2021

The Philippines, through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), has assumed  the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC), the group leading the bloc to fulfill its 2025 goal of driving economic prosperity in the region through intellectual property (IP). 

IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba officially took the helm of the AWGIPC last March 25 during a virtual turnover ceremony. 

In his acceptance speech, Barba committed to accelerate the completion of remaining deliverables under the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan 2016-2025 by enabling more cooperation activities within the bloc and with ASEAN dialogue partners. 

“As I assume the chairmanship on behalf of the Philippines, I will be working with my team in IPOPHL and with the ASEAN Secretariat to develop mechanisms that will fast-track the realization of our 10-year-roadmap,” the newly-installed AWGIPC chief said. 

Barba encapsulated his three-point strategy in the word “A-I-M,” which stands for: 

  1. Accelerate the completion of the deliverables.

  2. Intensify coordination and collaboration within ASEAN for easier communication and resolution of implementation bottlenecks.

  3. Modernize processes through digital transformation to increase efficiency and improve delivery of service. 

“We would like the AWGIPC to ‘AIM’ high and make further progress to bring more significant and meaningful developments to our stakeholders within and outside of the region,” Barba said. 

“We call on our fellow AWGIPC members to renew your commitment, intensify your cooperation with everyone, the ASEAN Secretariat and our partners, and to continue the support that we have been giving each other in the last four years,” he added. 

To date, about 82% of the Action Plan is ongoing or completed. 

Remaining areas of work include exploring possibilities of establishing unified regional systems on trademark, patents, and industrial designs. Regional databases will also be developed to consolidate the network of genetic resources and traditional knowledge (GRTK) and of copyright information. 

To continue improving the services of member-IP offices, the AWGIPC will also strengthen their financial management. 

For the creative economy, the group will continue work in developing international quality standards for the observance and adoption of collective management organizations (CMOs). 

On enforcement work, the ASEAN will also develop an information exchange for online enforcement as well as ASEAN guidelines on IP rights enforcement against online infringement. 

IPOPHL is also currently the chair of the ASEAN Network of IP Enforcement Experts (ANIEE), an AWGIPC sub-group tasked to implement IP enforcement initiatives under the Action Plan.

IPOPHL’s recent holdover of various leadership roles at the ASEAN, according to Barba, “elevates IPOPHL’s regional role as it takes on the important task of uniting the ASEAN community with the goal of improving the IP system for economic recovery and growth.”

Barba’s chairmanship at the ANIEE and the AWGIPC will end in 2023. ### (Janina Lim, Media Relations Officer)