THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said it launched programs to assist female inventors and female-led micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in protecting their intellectual property (IP).  

In a virtual launch on Wednesday, IPOPHL-Bureau of Patents Director Lolibeth R. Medrano said the Juana Patent and Juana Design Incentive Protection programs seek to promote the registration of IP and improve IP awareness, particularly for women.

“The Juana Patent and Juana Design programs are envisaged to assist women inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs (in) protecting their intellectual creations by (offering an) incentive package for invention, utility model (UM), and industrial design (ID) applications,” Ms. Medrano said.

The goal is to “promote gender inclusivity and enhance national innovation. IP is one of the areas where female participation can be greatly enhanced,” she added.

According to IPOPHL, the program will waive fees for up to 50 patents, 150 UMs, and 150 ID applications for applicants that qualify for the program.

“Waiving the fees for application, publication and substantive examination, the new program will provide women inventors and innovative, women-led MSMEs and startups with application savings from P2,700 for IDs and UMs up to about P5,100 for patents,” IPOPHL said.

IPOPHL also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to promote the programs.

IPOPHL said those interested in the incentives must have been in business for at least one year, with limited financial capacity. The applicant must also not have previously availed of funding under Republic Act 7459 or the Philippine Inventors and Inventions Incentives Act. Enterprises whose principals apply for the program must have no more than 20 employees.

“IPOPHL’s programs highlight the role of IP as a valued asset and business tool for entrepreneurs. Protecting IP goes hand in hand with the DTI’s objective of shaping a culture of innovation and creativity. Again, we reiterate that we don’t want to just create MSMEs. We want to create smarter and higher-value MSMEs,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

“As the pandemic deepened risks to vulnerable groups like women, the (program) comes at an opportune time to help them bounce back from the livelihood losses and economic challenges from the pandemic. By helping them capitalize on their ingenuity and protect their IP, we are also fulfilling our commitment to do more in empowering women to spur innovation in the country,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave