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Applications for intellectual property rise 14% in Q1

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LOCAL applications for intellectual property saw a 14% annual increase during the first quarter of the year amid expanding awareness over the importance of protecting trademarks for businesses.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said applications for patents — which cover inventions, utility models, and industrial designs — and trademarks totaled 10,024 in the January to March period this year, above the 8,761 logged in the comparable period last year.

Of this, trademarks represented 84% at 8,400 applications, increasing 12.56% from last year’s 7,463.

Resident filings took up the bulk at 60% and the remaining 40% were from non-residents.

Trademarks serve as “source identifiers,” meant to distinguish goods or services of one business from those of another, and can be a significant marketing tool for enterprises to establish brand recognition.

Meanwhile, the application for a patent for inventions grew 38% to 986 from 717 a year ago; the patent for utility models surged 59% to 331 from 208. But the patent for industrial design declined 18% to 307 from 373.

A patent is a bundle of exclusive rights granted to an invention, a product, or a process or improvement of either that meets the requirements of industrial applicability, inventiveness, and novelty.

As a bundle of exclusive rights, a patent allows the inventor to allow or prohibit others from making, using, selling, or importing the product of his invention during the patent’s period.

Meanwhile, utility models are designed to protect innovations that need not meet the inventive threshold required for a standard patent application.

It must, however, still have practical utility, industrial applicability, and novelty. The utility model grants similar exclusive rights as with patents, but have fundamental differences in terms of length of examination, cost, and scope of protection.

An industrial design protects the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article, and is also an owner’s exclusive right against unauthorized copying or imitation of the design.

The term of protection of a patent is 20 years, a longer period of protection than that of a utility model, which is protected for seven years.

The term of protection of an industrial design is five years, renewable twice for the same period of time.

“The rise of intellectual property applications reflects the spreading awareness among the public of the importance of trademarks, due to our key partnerships with media, the Department of Trade and Industry, and other strategic partners. Apart from this collaboration, IPOPHL’s strategic presence has steadily been gaining traction on our social media platforms,” IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said.

“Of course, these efforts are underpinned by the growing understanding, appreciation, and relevance of trademarks among micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), ultimately driving the increased demand for protection,” she added. — J.C. Lim