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Patent Libraries – A Joint Project of IP Philippines With Universities in Manila and Cebu

One of the projects the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines) commenced this year, is the establishment of Patent Libraries also known as Innovation & Technology Support Offices (ITSO). This project is in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The aims of the project are to 1) strengthen the institutional capacity of universities and research and development (R&D) institutions to conduct patent search, patent drafting and assistance in patent prosecution; 2) increase accessibility by universities and R&D institutions to patent information; and 3) increase innovative and inventive outputs manifested by increased patent filing in the universities and R&D institutions.

Two (2) separate signing ceremonies took place on 15 and 17 November 2010 in Manila and Cebu, respectively, bringing into effect the Memorandum of Agreement between the IP Philippines and the various universities and institutions that have agreed to host the ITSO.

In Metro Manila, the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI) have signed the agreements with IP Philippines on the establishment of patent libraries. This will provide the Filipino Public with access to global science and technology information that are legally available for developing innovations.

In Cebu, The University of San Carlos, Cebu Institute of Technology University, University of San Jose Recoletos, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation have signed the agreements with IP Philippines. Three (3) more institutions are expected to join the ITSO project in Cebu within the year.

Metro Cebu was chosen by IP Philippines and WIPO as one of the pilot areas for the project. “Cebu was chosen as the pilot area because of its high potential for patent activity, usage of patent information, commercialization of innovation, and most importantly, because of the presence of qualified partner-institutions to host and operate these ITSO’s or Patent Libraries on their own account in accordance with the terms of reference and rules prescribed by IP Philippines”, Nelia F. Navarro of the Department of Trade and Industry – Cebu Provincial Director stated.

IP Philippines Deputy Director General, Andrew Michael Ong said that the agency has tapped Cebu as its first model site for the project because of its good track record in building strong relationships amongst the private and public sectors and the academic in the province. He identified the creation, for instance, of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDF-IT), a non-profit organization organized by industry stakeholders in the local ICT industry that links together both the academic and the private sector in order to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Cebu was chosen as the pilot area but IP Philippines envisions the establishment of ITSO in all regions in the country. The project was pushed in line with the mandate of IP Philippines, which is to “work towards economic, technological and socio-cultural development by communicating, enabling and ensuring the effective use of the IP system in all levels of society for the creation, protection, utilization and enforcement of IP”.

The ITSO project of the IP Philippines purports to support innovation activities by strengthening local institutional capacity to access patent information and the use of the patent system. With ITSO’s services, it is projected that duplication in research work will be avoided and funds allocated to research and development will be efficiently utilized. Businesses, at the same time, are able to benefit from the project by identifying the latest and existing patented technologies that they could license to increase productivity and efficiency in their business operations. “Instead of spending money for broad and massive and time-consuming research, innovators, R&D developers, academic, and even companies can access the patent library based on their desired technology that needs to be developed”, Navarro said.

The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), which is funded by the USPTO, will support the ITSO project by providing technical assistance in developing a protocol and a blueprint for the establishment of technology transfer offices or units that will manage technology commercialization of academic and research institutions.

The Patent Library, which compiles valuable information revealed by scientists and inventors through their patents in Europe, the United States, and Japan, among others, offers 70 million scanned documents that can be accessed by developers, ICT experts, academe and any other interested parties. The IP Philippines plans to establish at least 100 patent libraries all over the country by 2015.