THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said it launched a program that will protect the trademarks of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), facilitating their global expansion.  

At a virtual launch Thursday, IPOPHL introduced the “Juan for the World” program targeting about 100 MSMEs for registry under the Madrid Protocol by the end of 2024.

The Madrid Protocol is an international trademark filing system established by the Madrid Union. It is recognized by 109 members in 125 countries and allows for a single and low-cost application for trademark registration. 

The project involves IPOPHL, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Franchise Association, and the Philippine Retailers Association.

IPOPHL will provide training and advisory assistance, while the DTI will endorse eligible MSMEs for the program. The private sector partners will sponsor the basic application fee to participate in the Madrid Protocol.

As of 2020, IPOPHL said that 399 resident registrations were recorded under the filing system. Of the total, only 39% or 154 are small companies.

Rowel S. Barba, IPOPHL director general, said the low participation rate is due to lack of funding and knowledge of the international trademark process.

“We hope to make them realize the opportunities in the global markets and how early protection of trademarks can help them grow their business with ease,” Mr. Barba said.  

Jesus Antonio Z. Ros, Bureau of Trademarks director, said IPOPHL will help in the registration process of the MSME beneficiary and will waive a handling fee worth P2,618.

Meanwhile, the private sector partners will pay the basic fee of P49,627 for a colored mark and P35,888 for a black and white mark.  

MSMEs under the program will have to pay other expenses such as the supplementary fee worth P5,496, individual fee ranging from P13,000 to P30,000, and costs to hire trademark agents in case of objections.

“This program provides big savings for MSMEs who are burdened by the overall Madrid Protocol registration fees but would like to protect their marks internationally. With this program, we can protect Filipino brands in several major markets,” Mr. Ros said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave