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IPOPHL approves ‘Bikol Pili’ as collective mark to support region’s economic recovery

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has approved the collective mark registration of Bicol pili products, opening greater opportunities for pili farmers, processors and traders in the region to attract global markets and reap higher revenues. 

IPOPHL’s Bureau of Trademarks (BOT) awarded the Certificate of Registration of the “Bikol Pili” collective mark to the Orgullo Kan Bikol (OKB) Association, Inc. in Legazpi City during a ceremony to unveil the mark held on June 14, 2022.

The mark will be used for a total of 13 classes of goods and services based on the Nice Classification. This will include raw and processed pili food products, as well as non-food products, such as garments, fashion accessories and wearables, cosmetics and beauty products and essential oils, among others.

The OKB is a Bicol-based association of more than a hundred local entrepreneurs and an active member of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in promoting Bicol’s products. 

“The collective mark serves to distinguish the origin and quality of pili products made and marketed by OKB members. It symbolizes OKB’s collective philosophy of supporting the pili industry to reach its potential and contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of the Bicol region,” OKB President Ms. Nona Nicerio said. 

Nicerio emphasized that the use of Bikol Pili collective mark is expected to further empower their members – mostly farmers, producers and small-scale entrepreneurs in the region – who are now entitled to use the collective mark to promote their pili products.

BOT Director Jesus Antonio Z. Ros said the mark will be “an effective branding tool that would stir increased consumer confidence, enhance competitiveness, attract more investors, sustain demand and productivity and provide additional employment opportunities.”

“We wish the OKB will be able to sustain these efforts in promoting all products covered by the Bikol PIli mark as the pili tree is very distinct and endemic in Bicol,” Ros said.

Director General Rowel S. Barba said the approval of collective mark registration is “a huge leap not just for our producers and traders but also for our nation.” 

“The wide-ranging opportunities from having a collective mark protection will, in the long run, foster inclusive economic growth,” Barba added

Collective mark to help Bicol’s economic recovery

With efforts spanning more than a decade to be obtained, Bicol’s collective mark is a significant milestone especially as the local government of Albay endeavors to bounce back from the adverse impact of the pandemic. 

Albay Governor-elect Noel Rosal committed to strengthen local government councils to “be more connected with [the pili] sector” and enable it to help Albay’s economy bounce back to its pre-pandemic status.

The DTI emphasized that the Bikol Pili registration is a continuing responsibility, especially for the producers, processors and traders. 

“Our journey will not end here; this Bikol Pili collective mark will be nothing if it fails to achieve its objective which is to enhance linkages between collective mark registration and local development, by supporting MSMEs through the promotion of practices that generate a positive image for pili as one of the region’s flagship commodities,” DTI Regional Director Rodrigo M. Aguilar said.

In his message, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Director Rodel P. Tornilla emphasized that the establishment of production and processing standards — a key requirement to secure a collective mark — “will surely boost the pili industry that serves as a major livelihood for thousands of Bikolano farmers, producers, processors and traders.”

“This branding tool will also bring the Bicol region to the world as the origin of pili that has vast uses and potential in agriculture, tourism, food and cosmetics industries” Tornilla added. 

The event was also graced by WIPO Senior Counselor George Ghandour and Development Agenda Coordination Division Associate Program Officer Cristina Martínez Limón, both of whom flew from Geneva, Switzerland to witness the ceremonial awarding. 

The push for the Bikol Pili mark is a collaborative effort between IPOPHL, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and DTI with the support of other agencies, such as the DTI, DA and Department of Science and Technology. 

The Bikol Pili registration is part of WIPO’s project dubbed the “Registration of Collective Marks of Local Enterprises as a Cross-Cutting Economic Development Issue”, which is also being implemented in Bolivia, Brazil and Tunisia.

The Bikol Pili is now the newest addition to the list of IPOPHL-registered collective marks, which includes the Guimaras Mangoes, Cordillera Heirloom Rice, Lake Sebu T’nalak and the Aklan Quality Seal. The said collective marks are also poised to be registered as geographical indications (GI) once the BOT finalizes a registration system for GIs this year. 

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