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Philippines Establishes Southeast Asia’s First IP Distance-Learning System

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has launched the “IPOPHL Learning Activities Workspace” – ILAW – as part of its digital transformation journey, making it the first intellectual property (IP) office in Southeast Asia to offer an online IP learning system to promote IP awareness.

According to Rowel S. Barba, Director General of IPOPHL, ILAW is part of the IP Academy and strives to safeguard the health and safety of stakeholders during the pandemic, as well as the ease of everyone who wants to learn IP.

ILAW is aligned with IPOPHL’s aim to create an IP-conscious Philippines through balanced and effective IP learning and education. This, in turn, will promote innovation and creativity among our people and drive more inclusive socio-economic growth and development in the country.

– Rowel S. Barba, Director General, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines 

In the future, the IP Academy, the national centre for IP education and professionalisation, wants to collaborate with educational institutions, government organisations, and worldwide partners through ILAW. The IP Academy, through ILAW, corresponds with IPOPHL’s BRIGHT Strategic Goals and intends to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ IP learning activities.

Currently, ILAW offers introductory courses on intellectual property, trademarks, copyright, and patents. The courses include lecture slides, interactive games, and video presentations that are entirely in Filipino.

Visitors can also search for and register for upcoming IPOPHL-hosted master courses aimed at more advanced IP learners. Over 1,000 people have registered on the ILAW platform thus far, including foreign registrants from China, Sri Lanka, Palestine, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Several government agencies lauded IPOPHL such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), WIPO Academy, ASEAN Secretariat, Philippine Trade Training Centre – Global MSME Academy (PTTC-GMEA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Global IP Academy all sent messages of support to IPOPHL.

The ILAW reaffirms IPOPHL’s commitment to integrating IP awareness knowledge and education with IP human resource development and to providing in-depth IP training to varied stakeholders in the Philippines, including teachers, MSMEs, entrepreneurs, creators, inventors, women and youth.

IPOPHL Promotes Gender Inclusivity and Enhances National Innovation

Meanwhile, IPOPHL has pledged to do more to empower women to foster innovation in the Philippines. In addition, the agency developed the Juana Patent and Juana Design Protection Incentive Programmes (JPIP) to encourage women inventors and designers to participate in the country’s innovation sector.

Because the pandemic heightened the risks for vulnerable groups such as women, the JPIP arrives at an opportune time to aid them in recovering from the pandemic’s economic and livelihood losses by assisting them in capitalising on their ingenuity and protecting their intellectual property.

The JPIP will waive certain expenses for approved applications, expanding IPOPHL’s women’s programmes from the Juana Make a Mark Programme.

The new initiative will let women inventors and innovative, women-led MSMEs and start-ups save more money by waiving application, publication, and substantive examination expenses. JPIP-processed applications will also be prioritised and sent through IPOPHL’s fast lanes.

IPOPHL’s innovation initiatives aided the Philippines’ ranking in a recent WIPO statistic that rated nations based on the proportion of women inventors who applied under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) — the international method for patent protection.

As the second-most populous country in this WIPO ranking, the Philippines had women inventors account for 38% of all PCT applications processed through IPOPHL, increasing their contribution to 22% by 2020. To raise women’s knowledge of the new programme, IPOPHL has recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

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