International Patent Office of Philippines appointed as “International Authority on Patents” by WIPO

Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) was designated as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) on October 5, 2017, at the 57th WIPO General Assembly and 49th Session of the PCT Union Assembly [1] becoming the second country of Southeast Asia and 23rd country of the world to be assigned as an International Authority on Patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Patent Cooperation Treaty is an international agreement administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that allows applicants and inventors to file a single international patent application that will have the legal effect of filing in the different countries bound by the treaty.

The IPOPHIL assigned designations, as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), will remain in force until 31 December 2027 [2]. IPOPHL can now contribute towards the more efficient functioning of the PCT system by encouraging the IP system in all the other developing countries along with promoting the use of the patent system in the Philippines and harness the strengths of the Philippines as an Intellectual Property (IP) hub in the region. The Philippines is the second international searching authority in South East Asia having a massive population of young talent, approx. 104 million, is expected to spur innovation and technological advancement that are key factors in deepening ASEAN economic integration.

Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations stated that the appointment of IPOPHL at this designation complements the government policy of mainstreaming science, technology, and innovation platform across national and local development agenda. He added that it would further foster research and development in the country, fitting into the country’s development plan “Philippine Development Plant (PDP) 2017-2022” [3], which is leaning toward a high-trust society and a globally-competitive knowledge economy.

Director-General of IPOPHL, Josephine R. Santiago, remarked that the designation of IPOPHIL as ISA and IPEA complements the national development plan and will transform the country into a knowledge-driven and innovative society which in turn will promote R&D activities. She further stated that IPOPHL has satisfied the requirements for designations as ISA/IPEA. She briefed about the number of improvements undertaken by the IPOPHL to meet the requirements of appointment in the past two years. The requirements include:

(i) Sufficient number of technical and manpower competence to carry out search and examination in required technical fields;
(ii) Use of comprehensive commercial and publicly-accessible databases covering patent and non-patent science and engineering databases, for search and examination;
(iii) A comprehensive and multi-tiered quality management system namely, in-process quality check, ISO QMS 9001:2008 and internal Patent Quality Review System (PQRS); and
(iv) Recommendation by established international authorities particularly the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and IP Australia.

In 2015, 43.5% of the PCT applications were filed by Asia and progressive growth has been noticed by Southeast Asian countries in the registration of patent applications in recent years. Thus there is a high demand for international PCT work. The Philippines with its seventy years of expertise in search and examination well-suits to serve this growing demand of the system.

Author: Shilpi Saxena, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana Advocates and IP Attorneys can be reached at shilpi@iiprd.com.

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