By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net IN THE LAST six years, only 96 Filipino inventions have been granted patents by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHIL) out of over 8,000 inventions patented in the country. The sad part here is that very few Filipino inventors, engineers and developers know the processes that could protect their inventions. In his presentation during an intellectual property forum at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, IPOPHIL Bureau of Patents Director Epifanio Rey Evasco said the lack of knowledge on local patenting and the requirements for patenting have discouraged Filipino innovators from filing for patents. What is worse is that some of the products that have commercial potential are taken by entrepreneurs who file for patents for themselves. “Inventors are not always businessmen and they could be exploited,” Evasco said. Evasco said that majority of the Filipino inventions that did get successfully patented were in the mechanical field, some of which are used for direct commercial products or manufacturing. Evasco noted that while patents granted locally are not always protected abroad, the IPOPHIL is already a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a multi-nation entity that monitors and reviews the patent filings of its 130 member-countries. “Since we are a member, we can help the patent filer to protect their inventions in other countries as long as they are a member of PTC. This already gives the Filipino inventor a leverage to become a world-class inventor,” Evasco. Evasco said one of the goals of IPOPHIL is to get information across to Filipino inventors through different organizations. One of these groups is the Technology Application and Promotion Institute, which assists Filipino inventors and innovators regarding patent applications. He also said IPOPHIL is already working to speed up the processing of patent filings. He noted that the agency receives at least 20 patent filings per day, though the majority of these are either rejected or withdrawn. “We have about 50 patent reviewers and each one is handling about 100 patent filings. Our goal is to process a patent within six months of filing,” Evasco said, adding that normally a patent filing is granted within four-and-a-half years.
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By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net IN AN EFFORT to promote intellectual property rights (IPR) and encourage scientists and engineers to develop more technology innovations, science journalists have tied up with the Philippine Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHIL) to conduct seminars for science reporters and other media groups. The IPOPHIL and the Philippine Science Journalists (PsciJourn) conducted the first media IPR Forum at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology building at the University of the Philippines Diliman last October 25. Here's a video of IPOHIL director general Adrian Cristobal Jr. (left) and PsciJourn president Angelo Palmones. The whole-day affair focused on the various aspects of intellectual property rights, and the differences and values of trademarks, copyright and patents. In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Cristobal said the partnership would be the first time the agency will directly deal with the media in promoting intellectual property rights and protection. Cristobal said he intends to work with other media groups, especially business writers, to give them a better understanding of the county’s intellectual property system. He explained that there is a need for inventors, researchers, engineers and scientists to innovate and create new products that may bolster both the intellectual capacity and economic development of the country. “It’s the media who will give us the leverage to tell inventors and engineers what to do,” Cristobal said. Palmones said that while the IP system is an important subject in media coverage, very few journalists actually cover or even understand it. “That’s why we’re here; to make them understand it themselves and impart knowledge to the people who listen or read them,” he said. Palmones said among the group’s plans is the holding of workshops with educational institutions that have broadcast media or journalism courses, to expose the younger generation of journalists to the IP system and related concepts.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net AS it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology (DOST-PCASTRD) is setting its sights on strengthening the patent capabilities of the local scientific and engineering communities. So far, the Philippines has produced a few patented technologies based from DOST-funded researches but the PCASTRD is looking to encourage more scientists to file patents as well as market these technologies to potential investors or business partners for use in different industries. PCASTRD showcased seven supported projects, including a titanium nitride material coating process applicable for almost all large-scale industries, such as aeronautics and automobile manufacturing. This project was conducted by University of the Philippines Diliman professor Henry Ramos who was just awarded a patent from Taiwan last March and is in the process of acquiring patents in Singapore, Malaysia, the US and Europe. A more recently approved patent was also an image-processing project from UP Diliman that involves combining an industrial-grade optical beam-induced imaging with confocal reflectance microscopy. Developed by UP Diliman researchers Cesar Saloma, Vincent Daria and Jelda Miranda, their project, whose patent was approved in the US on June 26, is aimed largely at the semiconductor industry and is useful for failure analysis in electronics components. A third patented Filipino technology was from engineer Hilary De Leon who created a flight data recorder with wireless data retrieval. In simpler terms, it could enhance the way information is recorded and distributed in an aircraft and can be incorporated in current "black boxes" or flight recording modules. During a press conference, PCASTRD Executive Director Reynaldo Ebora said the agency has been working with academic institutions that have strong research and development laboratories in an effort to get scientists to file patents. One of the latest projects of the DOST is a partnership with the Ayala Foundation that resulted in the creation of the Labtech Network, an online database of laboratory service providers and equipment suppliers that can be used by engineers and scientists to find relevant facilities and equipment for their researches. The Labtech Network would also serve as a database of patentable research materials useful to entrepreneurs and potential investors. Ebora noted that the agency is working with universities nationwide that have laboratories or research facilities to convince researchers and engineers to pursue their projects and file patents. He admitted that volumes of research are available in the Philippines but few of their authors would want to pursue patents. In particular is the concept of "publish or perish" wherein scientists must publish their work in scientific journals to showcase their work and then follow up with a patent. "One of the measurements of good scientific capability is the number of published works. The more research published, there would be more opportunities of commercially-viable projects being patented," Ebora said. Ayala Foundation executive vice president Bill Luz said another measurement of a country's economic prowess is the number of patents filed by a country. These patented technologies should also become actual products that can generate revenues. "That’s the purpose of Labtech; to get more private sector involvement in making patented technologies to generate income," Luz said. Meanwhile, Ebora said the DOST-PCASTRD has laid out their 20th anniversary program for the year, which includes seminars and forums on several topics. There would be campaigns on forensic DNA technology for legal practitioners, biotechnology roundtable discussions, disaster management, and space technology applications research, among others. The discussions will start in August and end in December.