The Philippines has urged Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies to boost intellectual property (IP) commercialization to strengthen IP rights in the region.
Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Deputy Director General Allan Gepty said in an interview that the country has pushed for commercializing IP in APEC through partnering with universities and research and development (R&D) institutions —a model that the Philippines is now implementing.
Gepty said the Philippines’ IP commercialization initiative aims to promote the broad use of IP to leverage the knowledge generated from universities and R&D institutions.
IP commercialization is the process of bringing IP-protected products, ideas, or produced knowledge to the market for utilization in return of profits.
IP commercialization places R&D outputs to get returns through joint venture, licensing agreements, and franchising among others.
“Basically, our thrust is to build capacity in universities and for these universities to generate technology inventions. Now, these inventions from universities, we want them to be brought in the market for commercialization so that the inventors in universities will benefit from this (IP protection) investment,” Gepty explained.
The official noted that the initiative wants to transpire a new mindset—that IP promotion is not only about fighting against counterfeit and fake goods but also using IP as core of business.
“We want to be more development-oriented, we want to see them the positive results if you will promote IP,” he added.
He said that this proposal pitched by the Philippines is now a concept note in APEC and the country is looking forward for its approval.
The country hosted two APEC meetings on IP this year.
Moreover, Gepty stressed the importance of partnering with academic institutions in strengthening IP rights protection.
He said IPOPHL has intensified its enforcement activities and information campaigns in schools.
“Our mantra now is ‘Enforcement is education; Education is enforcement’,” he added.
In the past years, the Philippines has improved its IP rights protection and enforcement by establishing the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR)—a government body composed of different agencies that can enforce operation to seize counterfeit and fake goods that entered the local market.
NCIPR is composed of IPOPHL; departments of Trade and Industry, Justice, Interior and Local Government; Bureau of Customs; National Bureau of Investigation, Optical Media Board; Philippine National Police; Food and Drug Administration; National Book
Development Board; Office of the Special Envoy for Transnational Crime; and National Telecommunication Commission.
With the strengthening of IP rights protection and enforcement, the Philippines was delisted last year from United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Report.
It was after 25 years for the Philippines being on US’ piracy watchlist since 1989 and was seen as a center of pirate optical media production in Asia in 2001.
The country also maintained this year its clean record in the USTR list of notorious markets since 2012.
It was removed from USTR’s watchlists based on sustained actions that the Philippine government has undertaken to improve IP rights protection.