THE International Trademark Association (INTA) said the government’s efforts to strengthen intellectual property (IP) protections are beginning to be reflected in the economic contributions of trademark-intensive industries.

A study commissioned by INTA, a nonprofit association composed of 7,000 member-groups and some 31,000 trademark owners and professionals from over 190 countries, showed that trademark-intensive industries in the Philippines from 2012 to 2015 generated 17% direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) and 41% indirect contribution.

Direct contributions consist of output and value-added generated by the industries while indirect contributions reflect interdependencies, through the purchase and sale of inputs.

In terms of labor, output and value-added, workers in such industries represented 15% of total employment.

The industries accounted for 47% of exports including manufacturing, IT, and electronics and related equipment which accounted for around 40% of total manufacturing value added.

The three industries that topped the list in contributions were manufacturing, information and communication, and construction.

“We need to have strong registration mechanisms which, fortunately, we already have here in the Philippines. We need to have stronger reinforcement mechanisms and I can tell you that your country is a leading country in the region,” said INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo on Thursday when the study was released at a briefing in Makati City.

James Allan, Director of Frontier Economics Australia and Asia, the consulting firm for the study, said that policies play a key role in driving the expansion of the trademark system in the country.

“I think we see some encouraging times in the Philippines. A good example is the recent establishment of the Philippine Competition Commission. It is these sorts of robust, transparent institutions that gives businesses the right signals and the right degree of confidence to come and make the investments that will ultimately increase manufacturing and drive export growth,” he said yesterday during the conference.

In Singapore the direct contributions topped the region at 50%.

Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia followed in terms of direct benefits to GDP at 30.3%, 22%, and 21% respectively.

However, the study, “The Economic Contribution of Trademark-Intensive Industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand” which was published on Aug. 14, said the low direct contribution to the Philippine economy may be attributed to the way in which data is presented.

“The level of disaggregation is less fine-grained that it is from other countries. This could mean that some trademark-intensive industries in the Philippines only make up part of a particular sector code might be excluded, whereas in others they would have been included,” the study read.

Mr. Allan suggested that the country may also use the study’s findings to draft a more effective strategy in attracting global investors to the manufacturing sector.

“A lot of activities come from manufacturing, particularly computers and big-ticket equipment items. Now the Philippines has a large number of players. But I think there has also been some players that left in recent years. And I guess one of the things that does come out of our study is that there is an opportunity for the Philippines to refocus on attracting this large global computer and equipment manufacturers and return to the Philippines,” Mr. Allan said.

In terms of indirect benefits, Thailand brought up the rear at 40% while Malaysia was highest at 60%.

On share of exports, both Thailand and Singapore scored 60% while Indonesia was lowest at 27%.

The five countries account for close to 90% of the combined GDP of the ASEAN community.

INTA defines trademark-intensive industries as those that have an above-average use of trademarks per employee.

A trademark helps consumers distinguish the goods and services provided by one company from another.

Earlier this year, the country started crafting a national strategy to enhance the country’s intellectual property system .

Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOP) Director-General Josephine R. Santiago said the project is expected to be completed in March next year.

“We hope in the process to get all the sectors where IP is relevant in the consultation process,” Ms. Santiago said during the briefing.

“We want to make and have programs that would translate into more understandable and would be more appreciated by the larger parts of our society like SMEs (small, medium enterprises),” she added.

Data from the IPOP show that filing of trademark applications grew slightly to 27,171 — covering both residents and non-residents — in 2016 from 27,112 a year earlier.

Existing registrations hit 26,978 last year, up from 2015’s 21,980.

“We’re looking at hitting the same [as last year] or exceeding the mark,” Ms. Santiago said referring to application and registration figures.

In the first half of the year, applications stood at 18,567 while registrations were at 10,813.

The IPOP official said sectors with most applications are pharmaceuticals, health and cosmetics.

This is followed by agricultural products and services, scientific research and information communication technology, textiles, management communication, real estate and financials. — Janina C. Lim