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IPOPHL, USPTO continue IP cooperation and partnership, vow to ramp up intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement

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From left: IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba and USPTO Acting Director Drew Hirshfeld completed the MOU signing last May 5, continuing the collaborative work under the long-standing partnership

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) recently renewed its partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and enhanced its terms of support in improving intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement in both home countries.

The MOU was officially renewed with the completed signing of IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba and USPTO Acting Director Drew Hirshfeld last May 5, 2021. 

The areas of cooperation covered by the MOU are on:

1. Training and capacity building to enhance office administration, human resource development, patent and trademark examination, among others;

2. Promoting the importance of IP in innovation and economic growth through seminars, roundtables, workshops and/or conferences; and

3. Sharing of IP-related, non-confidential information and best practices on the process of examination of patent and trademark applications and registrations, efficient operation of an IP office, IP laws, rules, and regulations, and IP rights protection and enforcement.

Under these cooperation areas, the USPTO has additionally committed to: (1) designate IPOPHL as a competent international searching and preliminary searching authority (ISA/IPEA) and (2) provide capacity building on other areas to improve IP rights protection and enforcement, such as on IP awareness, education, valuation, commercialization and technology transfer arrangements.

Barba said the renewed and enhanced partnership with the USPTO will ensure continuous improvements at IPOPHL in serving inventors, creators and businesses especially in the midst of a raging pandemic. 

“The first round of bilateral cooperation with USPTO had greatly benefited the IPOPHL as it enhanced our efficiencies in IP administration, management, patent and trademark examination and enforcement. As we continue to carry out this partnership with added goals, IPOPHL and the USPTO will surely improve aligning our practices for the benefit of businesses in both countries and spur innovation at a time of crisis when it is most needed,” Barba said. 

The IPOPHL chief said IPOPHL has “strong and long-standing” bilateral relations with the USPTO, the latter having provided invaluable support to IPOPHL, notably in its preparations as an international authority. 

An ISA/IPEA conducts examination reports required in the international application process provided by the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

To date, the World Intellectual Property Organization has designated only 23 ISA/IPEA including IPOPHL and only two others in Southeast Asia.

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