Monday, October 7, 2013

How the Philippines is trying to generate more locally owned patents

Ricardo Blancaflor, the director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, has in the past lamented the country’s universities' lack of IP awareness. Only 186 patents were filed last year by resident applicants apparently. But government efforts to drive innovation often don't show clear results. Several initiatives from Manila are however interesting.

Training in the Philippines by the Philippines Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) suggests clear results can follow. Their training program on IP Management aims to generate IP applications from technologies arising from Government funded research.

Their course includes subjects such as invention spotting, prior art searching, technology disclosure and patent drafting, in a practical way using real life examples. Over the last 5 years, PCAARRD has conducted 8 such IP training sessions for 194 researchers. This has led to the following IPR being created by its trainees - 36 patents, 3 utility models and 6 trademarks.

Separately top Manila university UP has a Technology Transfer and Business Development Office, which has filed over 40 patent applications. The IPO's 2-year-old ITSO program (Innovation and Technology Support Offices) provide universities all over the Philippines with support and they reckon they produced 6 new patents from it.

Of course IPR arising from research has to be commercialized to create value, but that's a second step. In SE Asia research budgets are already far too low. So governments need to prioritize R&D and IP creation first of all. The Philippines is making some progress.

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