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PIA Press Release

Gov't urges SMEs to make use of intellectual property rights

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (21 November) -- The government is encouraging small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the Davao to make use of Intellectual Property Rights to enhance their product.

Atty. Leny B. Raz, OIC-Office of the Deputy Director General and Head-IP Field Operations Unit, IP Philippines said in a press conference at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao that their tangible assets can add value to their products.

She said intellectual property are intangible assets that an SME must work on and apply for patent because these are the product of the mind and the intellect of the individual.

She said having that in the product is more than the name and they want these entrepreneurs to develop the culture of consciousness on IPR.

Intellectual property (IP) is an asset that any person can own, sell, license and it is intangible and like tangible assets it requires protection from theft or unauthorized use.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) consists of copyright and related rights, trademarks and service marks, industrial designs, patents, layout designs, geographical indications.

Raz admitted that there is a low level of awareness among businesses here and they are reaching out to the regions so that they can have easy access to these services.

Raz and other IP Manila officials came to Davao also to open the IPO office that will be housed at the DTI NERBAC office at Monteverde Street.

She said the IPO Davao Office will assist applicants in their registration even as she said that processing will still be done in Manila.

Raz said the Davao Office will extend mentoring to these businesses inorder to come up with good patent proposals even as she said that they will be conducting IP workshop to help clients learn the craft of preparing patent applications.

"Although we can hire lawyers or patent consultants we encourage investors to learn the craft," she said.

"If you know how to do it, it will help a lot in preparing patent applicants because you know the project better," she added.

She said that when the presentation is clear with substantial inputs, it would be easier for the examiner to deal with the application.

Engr. Merlito Carag, area manager of IPO, who will also handle the Davao Office, said many still don't know how to prepare patent application and they would like to teach local investors how to do it.

He said that compared before, processing time now has been reduced citing for instance that turnaround time for patent application before would take 6 years, now its about 3 to 4 years depending on the sophistication of the technology.

"The turnaround time for trade-marks is now between 4 to 6 months compared to one year before," he said.

Meanwhile Raz said it will really take some time and after substantial examination, the patent application will be published in leading newspaper to find out if there is any opposition to the application.

She also said that there is now a shift in the filing of applications where before 80 percent were foreign filers and 20 percent local. At present 60 percent are local filers and only 40 percent are foreign.

For trade marks there are 67 percent local filers and 33 percent foreigners.

Data provided by Roland Feinagle of European Patent Office showed that there are about 1.8 million applications worldwide. However Rachara Puri, chief executive officer of XELLECT IP Solutions said application for utility model is also within the territory because it is the local industry that will make use of the product. (PIA) [top]

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