Deemed as a crucial preliminary step in technology transfer and commercialization, intellectual property (IP) protection has been an integral part of the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-TAPI)’s portfolio of services to Filipino inventors and researchers.
The Intellectual Property Rights Assistance Program (IPRAP) provides assistance in patent consultation and grants payment for professional patent agents and other fees necessary to process an application at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
As a commitment to provide responsive and accessible services, DOST-TAPI approved the changes in the IPRAP Guideline to better suit the needs of its beneficiaries through Administrative Order 28 on 02 August 2020.
Among the changes is the inclusion of the application for registration of trademarks for DOST-funded Filipino-invented technologies and products.
For starters, a trademark is a symbol, word, or words legally registered to represent a company or product.
A notable example would be the logos of known Filipino brands like Jollibee, Meralco, and Cebu Pacific as well as widely-recognized international brands like Apple, Starbucks, and Nike.
In the past, trademark registration was not part of iPRAP assistance. However, DOST-TAPI realized that along with commercializing an invention, distinguishing one’s goods or services from the competition offers not only an edge in the market but also business sustainability and longevity.
Before the agency could process an application for a trademark, the ‘mark’ should already be in actual use whether stamped or printed on the products or technologies, to make sure that the registration would not go to waste.
Additionally, with the new Guideline, Filipino researchers and inventors can avail of the agency’s consultancy and advisory services through emails and phone calls.
This is practiced to maintain accessibility despite the currently imposed mobility restrictions across the country through the community quarantines.
While perks await the applicants under the IPRAP, the Program remains reserved for Filipinos, limiting its qualified proponents to Filipino individuals, academic and research institutions, and other entities owned and operated by Filipino citizens.
This is to prevent any foreign entities from taking advantage and exploiting the incentives meant for local inventors and innovators who are in dire need of government support.
Interestingly, groups of individuals may now avail assistance under IPRAP unlike before when the program is limited to individuals and institutions.
Group application is possible as long as a focal person is assigned to them. However, applicants should ensure that all individuals who contributed to the development of the technology are
included in their IP application.
With the changing times and shifting paradigms, IPRAP continues to adapt and evolve in order to remain in-sync with the needs of Filipino inventors and innovators.
At its core is the purpose to promote and ensure protection of the country’s vast intellectual assets to spur the much needed innovation and economic progress.
To know more about the the latest updates about IPRAP, please visit techtrans.gov.ph/how-we-serve/regular-programs/intellectual-property-rights-ipr-assistance-program
DOST-TAPI S&T Media Service
NUR LEMUEL C. CASTILLO