IPOPHL unanimously endorsed for appointment as international authority on patent

May 14, 2017 - 3:30 PM
IPOPHL Director-General Josephine Santiago (center) presents the application of the Philippines to be designated as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority to the Working Group on Patent Cooperation Treaty. HANDOUT PHOTO

MANILA – The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has received unanimous international endorsement to be designated as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, an agreement administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an international treaty that allows patent applicants to file a single application in one intellectual property office and seek protection in multiple countries. The Philippines is seeking designation as an ISA/IPEA under the treaty.

There are only 22 ISAs/IPEAs worldwide. If appointed, the IPOPHL will become the 23rdISA/IPEA, and the 2nd in the ASEAN region.

The Working Group on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), sitting as Committee on Technical Cooperation (CTC), reviewed the IPOPHL’s application and unanimously endorsed it for approval by the PCT Union Assembly during the General Assembly of the WIPO Member States in October 2017. With its endorsement by the CTC, the IPOPHL is one step closer to realizing its goal of operating as an ISA/IPEA, which is envisioned to contribute to the increased usage of the patent system by Filipino nationals.

In her presentation, IPOPHL Director General Josephine Santiago noted that the IPOPHL has satisfied the requirements for designation as ISA/IPEA.

The IPOPHL has:
(1) 110 full-time patent examiners adequately trained in search and examination;
(2) full access to the minimum documentation, which include publicly available and propriety databases, such as Thomson Innovation, WIPS Global Database, EPOQUENet, among others;
(3) patent examiners skilled in conducting search and examination in the required technical fields in English, one of the official languages of the PCT system;
(4) a Quality Management System and stringent internal review mechanisms, including in-process quality checks, 3-person team for search report and written opinion, adoption of patent quality manual.

Santiago said the Office has the competence to conduct patent prior art searches and preliminary examination of international patent applications filed under the PCT. In addition, she presented the administrative, operational and infrastructure reforms undertaken by the IPOPHL in preparation for its ISA/IPEA application and the innovative agenda and institutional partnerships of IPOPHL in support of the designation.

Santiago also cited the vibrant Philippine economy and the country’s achievement of having a highly successful network of Innovation and Technology Support Offices or ITSOs. This network of research institutions and universities is a potential source of patent filings. The Philippines has also been identified by WIPO as a “hub for intellectual property creation and commercialization”.

The recent ranking of the Philippines by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as among the top 15 preferred investment destinations of multinational enterprises is a promising development that Santiago also highlighted during her presentation.

“The Philippines is well-placed to ensure a dynamic and accessible IP system in the region, and the IPOPHL will contribute to enhancing a robust environment for research, invention, and innovation and IP protection. The Philippines, after all, is a strategic partner in building a strong IP culture in the region,” Santiago said.

Director General Santiago also said that the designation of the Philippines will further boost the dynamism of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Philippines is one of the founding members of ASEAN, which is commemorating its 50th Anniversary this year.