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Fee waiver for trademark applications expanded to more MSMEs

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IPOPHL DTI agreement
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday signed an agreement to extend the Trademark Registration Incentive Program “Juana Make a Mark,” and register trademarks at a reduced cost to benefit 1,000 more MSMEs. -- WWW.IPOPHIL.GOV.PH

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Intellectual Property of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said they have expanded a program to waive trademark application fees for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to accommodate 1,000 more applications.

The so-called “Juana Make a Mark” program is now budgeted for 2,000 MSMEs, which can save up to P3,000 from waived basic filing, color claims, and first publication fees.

The effectivity was extended to Feb. 14, 2019, or until all such entitlements have been exhausted.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the program is intended “to help the MSMEs be part of the local supply chain and eventually venture out to the global market.”

Logos, brands, label marks and trade names are viewed as key marketing tools that MSMEs need to differentiate their goods or services from those of their competitors.

IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said the extension of the program gives the agency more time to reach far-flung areas where there may be trademark applicants.

“The success of the first round of the program shows MSMEs are realizing the significance of trademarks, such as an edge in marketing their products,” Ms. Santiago said in a statement.

In the three months to March, trademark applications totaled 8,400, up 12.56% year on year.

Ms. Santiago attributed this to the growing awareness of the importance of trademarks.

The DTI requires potential applicants availing of the waived fees to be in a DTI or IPOPHL priority sector, or to be situated in areas which are prone to natural disasters or facing social and/or economic challenges, among others.

Priority sectors are agribusiness; aerospace parts; automotive and auto spare parts; chemicals, electronic manufacturing and semiconductor manufacturing services; construction; design-oriented furniture and garments; shipbuilding (RORO, small or medium-sized vessels); information technology and business process management; tools and dies; tourism; and transport and logistics.

IPOPHL launched the program in 2017.

The bulk of the trademark applications filed by MSMEs involve distinctive local pastries, delicacies, coffee, tea, and sugar. This was followed by processed food from fruits and vegetables indigenous to the area. — Janina C. Lim