Intellectual property (IP) is defined by the WIPO as “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” IPs are protected through patents, copyrights, and trademarks, allowing IP owners to reap the financial benefits and recognition for their invention or creation.
In the Philippines, the agency tasked to regulate and uphold IP laws is the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPO). If you wish to protect your intellectual property, you need to register it with the IPO.
In applying for IP protection, it is best to get assistance from professionals who have a thorough knowledge of and experience in this kind of process. The procedure may appear simple, but it can get very complicated in practice. You need to make sure that your application is in order to avoid delays or denials, and that you get the most comprehensive protection possible.
Registration gives you exclusive rights to your IP, and allows you to seek remedial actions against those who might violate your IP ownership rights. By registering your IP, you are given the assurance that only you can use and make a profit from your IP, unless you give authorization for its use to others.
You may register your IP as one of the following:
Patent – gives protection to product or process inventions
Trademark/servicemark – protects a visible sign or group of signs that identifies a product or service from others
Industrial design – a composition of colors, lines or three-dimensional forms that serve as a pattern for an industrial product or handicraft
Utility models – a mechanical innovation that does not qualify for a patent
Of the IPs listed above, the most commonly registered and used ones in the Philippines are trademarks/servicemarks and patents. Here are the steps involved in registering these properties:
Filing of application at the IPO’s Bureau of Trademarks, with duly accomplished application form, specimen of the trademark/servicemark, and receipt of filing fee payment
Search – the Bureau of Trademarks searches its database for similar or identical trademarks
Examination – if the trademark/servicemark has no similar registered marks, the Bureau of Trademarks reviews the specimen for conformance to existing rules and guidelines
Publication – a trademark that has passed examination will be published on the IPO Gazette for 30 days, allowing any opposition to its registration
Registration – if the trademark is unopposed, the Bureau of Trademarks issues a Certificate of Registration, which has a validity of 10 years
Filing of application at the IPO’s Bureau of Patents, with a duly accomplished request form, description, drawings, and an abstract of the invention, and receipt of filing fee payments. In cases where the filing is for an earlier-filed application (versus a later filing), the filing date, file number, and country of origin must be indicated.
Formality examination – the Bureau of Patents examines the invention, and grants a filing date if the application satisfies the bureau’s criteria. The filing date is important as it will serve as basis in determining ownership of the patent if a dispute with another party arises.
After 18 months from the filing date, the application will be published in the IPO Gazette along with previously granted or published patent applications that are similar to the invention. Any comments on the patentability of the invention will have to be given in writing to the Bureau of Patents.
Within 6 months from the date of registration, the applicant must file a request for substantive examination of application.
If the examiner objects to the registration, the applicant may defend or amend the application. If the examiner finds no reason to object to the registration, the patent is granted to the applicant.
The grant of the patent is published in the IPO Gazette for 6 months.
If an application is denied, an appeal may be made to the Director of Patents within two months from the mailing date of the refusal notice.