PH startups urged to protect intellectual property assets

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Cybersecurity algorithms, software piracy, and copyright licensing of computer programs were just a few of the topics raised by the local startup community when it engaged with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) in an informal dialogue on Wednesday, October 10.

Photo credit: IPOPHL

“It’s easy to overlook intellectual property for startups as you’re probably busy looking to scale up and firm up your business model first. But intellectual property is a very valuable asset and it becomes increasingly so as the business grows,” said IPOPHL deputy director general Teodoro C. Pascua during the forum.

“Knowing your business’ IP portfolio — may it be in the technology, the product, or the solution your start-up owns — is important. Also, setting down ownership of the IP assets at the onset will be useful to avoid disputes and infringement claims later on,” Pascua said.

Bureau of Trademarks assistant director Jesus Antonio Ros apprised the startups on both general concepts of intellectual property and specific concerns of the startups in their operations such as the general registrability of trademarks, the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the IPOPHL in registration, and the nuances of proprietary work in a start-up.

Amelita Amon, division chief of Industrial Design Examining Division of IPOPHL, meanwhile enlightened the startups, of the non-patentable nature of computer programs but the source code’s protection as copyrighted material. Amon gave a basic primer on patents, utility models, and industrial design.

The startups, on the other hand, raised their concerns on the difficulty of navigating the bureaucracy just to protect their IP assets.

Ros acknowledged the different requirements that government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Department of Trade and Industry, have in business registration. For IPOPHL, he said the agency has already migrated its full suite of registration facilities online and is committed to facilitate ease of doing business.

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