THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said it signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) to mutually promote and improve intellectual property systems.

The MoC is the first bilateral cooperation deal between the two countries.

In a statement Thursday, IPOPHL said that the two sides signed the MoC on the sidelines of the 2019 Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan, South Korea in November.

The two intellectual property offices are expected to exchange information, including intellectual property best practices.

“Such would require developing processing schemes for administrative procedures in a timely manner through initiatives such as DIP’s utilization of search and examination results of IPOPHL,” the statement said.

The deal may include the Laos IP office’s designation of IPOPHL as a competent international searching authority (ISA) and international preliminary examining authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a single procedure to apply for a patent protection in multiple countries, doing away with the need for several national or regional applications.

IPOPHL started operating as an ISA and IPEA to conduct search and preliminary examination of international applications in May 2019.

The MoC sets the framework for the two countries’ capacity-building initiatives for intellectual property. They plan to develop a streamlined information exchange mechanism.

“Capacity building activities will encompass search and examination procedures for IP application and IP education and awareness-raising, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises,” IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said. — Jenina P. Ibañez