Central Visayas tops patent filing among regions

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REGION 7, or the Central Visayas, filed the most number of patent applications among the country’s regions in 2018, according to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

In a Monday statement, IPOPHL said its Cebu-based Intellectual Property Satellite Office (IPSO), which services the region, saw patent filings rise 6.6% to 210 last year from 197 in 2017.

Patent filings cover inventions, utility models (UM) and industrial designs.

UM filings in the region, mostly from research institutions and universities, stood at 188 and accounted for nearly 90% of all patent filings in Central Visayas.

“This indicates an increasing abundance of innovation, particularly from research and development institutions & higher education institutions from Central Visayas,” the statement read.

Cebu Technological University was the top UM applicant and was followed by Capiz State University.

UMs protect innovations that may or may not be sufficiently inventive to meet the inventive threshold required for standard patents application.

However, it must meet other requirements such as “practical utility,” “industrial applicability”, and “novelty.”

The UM is an industrial property right intended to accommodate small enterprises and local industries, given it is less costly and easier to obtain than a patent.

With the recorded rise of interest for intellectual property (IP) protection in Central Visayas, IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said the agency will continue to provide support to stakeholders in the region by making services more available and accessible through IPSOs, which are tasked to launch information programs outside Metro Manila.

There are currently 14 IPSOs nationwide.

Activities conducted by IPSOs include basic orientation seminars, consultation, coaching or mentoring sessions, patent drafting workshops and capacity-building seminars.

The IPSO in Cebu served as many as 1,114 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in 2018 through these activities.

“Moreover, the strategic support given by IPOPHL to our Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSOs) in patent search and drafting in 2018 helped capacitate academe members to concretize their intellectual capital into patent applications. Rest assured, we will sustain this support to regional universities, considering the wealth of scientific innovation and creativity they contribute,” the IPOPHL chief added.

ITSOs are in-house patent libraries of universities and research institutions that are developed jointly by the institution and the IPOPHL.

Patent filings in ITSOs account for 193 or 41% of the 464 local patent filings in 2018.

Recently, IPOPHL concluded its third five-day mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) focused on giving an orientation on and developments in IP and related laws.

The MCLE, a first in Cebu, aimed to expand IPOPHL’s education drive to IP practitioners in the Visayas.

The IPOPHL is slated to conduct two more MCLEs within the year. — Janina C. Lim