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IPOPHL, IBP to uphold IP rights of indigenous cultural communities and MSMEs 

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to support Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in protecting their intellectual property (IP) rights.

“Through the MOA, IPOPHL and IBP will work to assist local communities with IPs and potential GIs and handhold them toward the registration of their IPs and GIs,” said IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba during the MOA signing on 24 January 2022 in Taguig City. 

“We hope this partnership can bring better appreciation and protection of ICC products that will promote cultural heritage, strengthen IP rights of ICCs, and inform and educate the public on IP,” Barba added.

With the MOA, IPOPHL sees itself better positioned to reach ICCs far and wide given IBP’s extensive network of regional and local chapters throughout the country, as well as its existing MOA with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to promote the welfare of indigenous communities.

For its part, IBP will be providing pro bono legal assistance to ICCs once they register their IP assets, particularly in the prosecution and enforcement of their IP rights as owners.

IBP Executive Vice President and Eastern Visayas Governor Atty. Antonio C. Pido said partnering with IPOPHL will allow IBP “to provide assistance to marginalized communities and the indigenous peoples’ communities so that they will have more faith in our legal system.”  

The inking of the MOA comes after the implementing rules and regulations for GI registration took effect in November 2022. GIs are signs used on products that have a specific quality or reputation due to their geographic origins. The Guimaras Mangoes was filed as the first GI application in the country. Other formerly registered collective marks such as the Bikol Pili and the Tau Sebu T’nalak have also been identified as potential GIs.

Aside from helping ICCs, the partnership aims to assist MSMEs in fully utilizing their trademarks through IPOPHL’s Juana Make a Mark and Juan for the World programs by providing them with legal aid if needed. 

Those who register their trademarks abroad through the Madrid System, the international route for trademark registration, may also expect financial assistance from IBP to cover an application’s basic fee – about P49,627 for a colored mark and about P35,888 for a black and white.

The Juana Make A Mark enables women and women-led enterprises to register their trademark at a reduced cost. Meanwhile, the Juan for the World aids MSMEs in registering their trademarks through the Madrid Protocol – the international route for trademark application – with private and public sectors providing them with financial and technical business assistance.  

The signing of the MOA is auspicious with DG Barba having been a former Governor For Southern Luzon of the IBP. EVP Pido was joined by Governor For Southern Luzon, Atty. Jerwin J. Lopez, Governor for Greater Manila Atty. Marcelino Michael I. Atanante IV, National Executive Director for Operations & Legal Counsel Atty. Randall C. Tabayoyong, National Secretary Atty. Doroteo B. Aguila, Presidential Liaison for the Judiciary Atty. Martin John S. Yasay, and Director for Chapter Affairs Atty. Jam Ibanez. 

Meanwhile, DG Barba was joined by Director Atty. Jesus Antonio Ros of the Bureau of Trademarks (BOT), Director Atty Emerson Cuyo of the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights (BCRR), Director Jarvis Alindogan of the Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau (DITTB) and BOT Asst. Dir. Atty Ginalyn Sacmar-Badiola.

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