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The Philippines and Laos Cooperate for Intellectual Property

Philippines and Laos Cooperation for Intellectual Property
Photo Credit: Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines

The Philippines and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic recently inked a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC).


Representing their respective countries, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) reportedly signed the MOC in a bid to boost bilateral collaboration on improving each other’s intellectual property systems.

IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago and the DIP Director General Khanlasy Keobounphanh signed the MOC on the sidelines of the 2019 Association of Southeast Asian Nation-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit recently held in Seoul, Korea.

About the initiative

Under the MOC, both offices will work on, among others, strengthening their cooperation.

This will lead to the promotion and improvement of existing IP systems by establishing a mechanism where they can exchange information and best practices.

This endeavour would require developing processing schemes for administrative procedures in a timely manner through initiatives such as:

  1. DIP’s utilisation of search and examination results of IPOPHL
  2. DIP’s possible designation of IPOPHL as a competent international searching authority and international preliminary examining authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

The conduct of mutually beneficial capacity building activities on IP was also laid down as core of the MOC framework.

It would also cover the development of a streamlined exchange mechanism of IP-related information and best practices between the two countries.

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.

The recently signed MOC is the first bilateral cooperation deal between the two ASEAN countries, which realises each other’s shared vision of actively leveraging IP for their nations’ economic growth.

Workshop for patents and integrated circuit design

In other IP-related news, the IPOPHL recently held a workshop or Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) members who are not yet familiar with IP.

This will provide them with an extensive understanding of the different IP tools, with much focus on patents and integrated circuit (IC) design, which are the main attraction for electronics businesses.

The workshop taught participants how to begin their IP journey, the process for which was initially thought of as an esoteric subject matter best left to lawyers.

Encouraged by the value-adding offered by the IP system, participants now see the necessity of establishing an IP office or unit within their organization.

Additionally, they have resolved to elevate this proposal to their bosses to give more focus on identifying which of the company’s inventions are patentable and highly marketable.

Other start-up participants shared that as start-ups, they do not have the funds to put up an IP office. As such, they are hoping that subsequent workshops will provide guidance on how they can do it on their own.

Future plans

SEIPI invited IPOPHL to the Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) to be held in June 2020.

It is the group’s biggest annual event where industry leaders convene to discuss issues, future directions, and matters of strategic importance to sustain the competitiveness of the industry.

Staging of a whole-day learning seminar on the sideline of the forum was offered to IPOPHL.

This would capacitate industry players how to secure patent grants and apply protection for an integrated circuit design.

The IP system has the potential to provide answers that will make the members gain more competitiveness, which is a very important quality for companies racing to take advantage of the benefits of Industry 4.0.

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