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Philippines: National Intellectual Property Strategy

There has been a continuing shift in the Philippine intellectual property (IP) landscape, beginning with the passage of the Intellectual Property Code (IP Code) in 1997. Coming into effect in 1998, the IP Code resulted in the harmonisation of Philippine IP laws with international standards. In 2014, due to the strengthening of IP enforcement activities, the Philippines was removed from the USTR Special 301 Report, a yearly report released by the US which assesses the level of IP rights protection and enforcement provided by countries with which it has commercial activity. The fact that the Philippines has remained outside the watch list for four years now proves its commitment to sustaining its intellectual property reform. Now, the government's objective is to develop IP as a catalyst for economic development.

In order to further its gains in the IP arena, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhl) has launched its National Intellectual Property Strategy (NIPS) which is described as a whole-of-government effort to support creativity and innovation. Make no mistake, however, the NIPS concept has been around since at least a decade when then IPOPhl director general Adrian Cristobal took a developmental and educational approach to IP by providing seminars and events with the promotion of IP rights as their centrepiece.

The NIPS will endeavour to involve IP rights stakeholders in the government, education and the private sector as well as innovators and scientists. In this way, it is hoped the NIPS can chart the course of IP development in the Philippines instead of having a disparate and uncoordinated approach. In laying out a systematic path towards IP growth and development, the IPOPhl will initially be holding consultative meetings with various stakeholders around the third to the last quarter of 2017. The NIPS will be finalised in the first quarter of 2018 and is planned to be submitted to the president for implementation in the second quarter of 2018.

It is hoped that the NIPS will result in the development of an IP system that will allow researchers and innovators to generate marketable IP. This will encourage the appropriate use of IP rights, as occurs in the neighbouring countries of Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, where great economic strides are evident based on IP development.

Bienvenido I Somera, Jr and Ma Sophia Editha C Cruz-Abrenica
Villaraza & Angangco

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