The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) recently signed agreements with partner agencies from the United Nations, United States, and the European Union at the sidelines of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
The first contract to be signed by the IPO was the partnership agreement with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), extending and strengthening their bilateral cooperation on IP.
In the agreement, the clause on the promotion of the importance of IP in innovation and economic growth includes cooperation activities in the areas of IP management and cooperation.
The last bilateral agreement on IP between the IPOPHL and the USPTO was signed in September 2011.
The second agreement signed by the IPO was with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to establish a longer-term cooperation between the two parties in the field of IP and development.
The agreement allows the Philippines to engage longer with UNCTAD and benefit more from the UN agency?s advisory services and capacity building activities on cross-cutting IP and development issues.
UNCTAD has been providing technical assistance in the form of ad hoc advisory services and capacity building activities to the Philippines in various subject areas related to IP and development since 2013.
?With this new agreement we are building on our mandate to align our IP policies with our interests as a developing economy and with our bid to achieve inclusive growth and development. We are fully aware that our IP policies need to be crafted with a public policy perspective and that the cross-cutting IP and development issues are important issues that we need to address,? said Allan Gepty, deputy director general of the IPOPHL.
He added that the signing of the cooperation agreement on IP and development with UNCTAD is timely as IP becomes more mainstream and IP issues are more pronounced in Philippine policies and legislations.
Lastly, the IPO signed a cooperation agreement with the European Patent Office (EPO) that will assist in the development and expansion of the patent systems in the Philippines and Europe.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the IPOPHL and EPO, an inter-government organization of 38 member states which offers uniform patent application procedure and grants European patents, establishes a wide-ranging and flexible mechanism for cooperation activities.
The areas of cooperation covered in the agreement include patent examination and administration procedures; human resource development; automation; patent databases and data exchange; and other common cooperation measures such as holding of regional events and sharing of consultants during expert missions.
The IPOPHL and the EPO also see the agreement as one way of increasing the use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The IPOPHL and the EPO both handle applications through the PCT which allows a patent filer in one signatory state to have their application recognized in other states that are party to the PCT Treaty.
?This is another step forward in the IPOPHL, EPO partnership. We recognize EPO?s expertise and efficiency in carrying out searches and substantive examination on European and international patent applications. With this agreement, we can request for EPO?s assistance to further enhance our patent grant procedure as we get ready to handle more patent applications,? said Gepty.
For the EPO, it intends to draw on IPOPHL?s expertise and infrastructure, and make the Philippines the site of its future regional activities such as courses and seminars.