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IP regulator calls for stronger protections to drive innovation

THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said legislators preparing the Intellectual Property Code must increase protections for IP in order to provide a favorable environment for innovation, including the development of startups.

In a hearing at the House of Representatives Thursday, IPOPHL Director-General Rowel S. Barba asked legislators to “create an enabling environment that will promote and steer creativity, innovation, and development for not only large companies but also for micro, small, medium enterprises, including startups.”

The House Committee on Trade and Industry was evaluating House Bills No. 1597 and 8062 at the hearing.

The bills call for the amendment of intellectual property law, which Mr. Barba said is needed to shorten the Philippine economy’s digitization transition.

“The international legal framework, norms, standards and best practices are also changing and a robust, effective, modern, and forward-looking intellectual property legal system will make the Philippines a more attractive investment destination, valuing intellectual property creation, utilization, and commercialization,” he said.

IPOPHL said it supports increased penalties for trademark and copyright infringement to deter piracy and other forms of IP theft.

Both bills call for the extension of the renewal period for trademark registration to 15 years from 10, which IPOPHL did not support.

“It will be more practical for stakeholders, local and foreign, to remember only one period,” he said, adding that most countries allow 10 years to protect trademarks. — Gillian M. Cortez

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