PH optimistic about keeping IPR record clean

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    The Philippines is optimistic of keeping its clean record in the United States Special 301 watchlist of intellectual property violators as it sustains inroads taken in 2020, particularly in the online space.

    Rowel Barba, director-general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), also expressed confidence the Philippines has adequately addressed concerns raised by the US in two previous cycles of the 301 program, the use of unlicensed software by government agencies.

    Barba said the IPOPHL has seen a dramatic drop in the use of pirated software since the Department of Budget and Management facilitated the procurement and stricter licensing techniques were implemented by software companies.

    Teodoro Pascua, deputy director of IPOPHL, said the government has spent billions of pesos to procure original software while putting in place safeguards to ensure only licensed ones are used in government offices.

    Pascua said the Department of Communication and Technology representative in the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights will lead an audit of government offices on the use of software.

    The Philippines has been out of the watchlist for the past seven years.

    Meanwhile,IPOPHL yesterday kicked off its National IP Month 2021 celebration with a campaign to attract more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to utilize IPR to protect their intangible assets.

    Barba noted the about 71 percent of the over 47,000 IP filings in 2019 are from MSMEs and that he expects to build on this success.

    Barba said the MSME sector can help drive filings back to pre-pandemic level which fell 12 percent last year. – Irma Isip