The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), through its IP (intellectual property) Academy, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Legal Education Board (LEB) to strengthen IP education in law schools.
Signed by IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba and LEB Chairperson Anna Marie Melanie B. Trinidad, the MOU cites that both parties shall work together to promote IP through training, education and research programs in the legal community.
“With the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other brainchildren of innovators, IP protection has been becoming more complex. These technologies have already shown their potential to manifest change and with it, the creation of new legal issues that require expertise in IP law,” Trinidad said, highlighting the urgency of supplying the demand for lawyers with a comprehensive understanding of IP law.
To jumpstart the terms of the MOU, IPOPHL is looking to create a technical working group (TWG) which will be composed of representatives from IPOPHL and LEB. Once a roadmap has been formulated, the TWG will implement action plans to support the objectives in the MOU.
During the MOU signing, IP Academy has expressed its confidence in creating more outcomes by working closely with LEB.
“IPOPHL needs LEB’s support in order for these objectives to be realized given their impact in the Philippine law education system,” said Assistant Director Frederick P. Romero, Ph.D., director-in-charge of the IP Academy, which is IPOPHL’s arm focused on promoting IP education, professionalization, and research in the country.
Dr. Romero, also the assistant director of the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights, noted that through this partnership, IPOPHL can encourage law schools to adopt their own IP policies that promote IP awareness, respect, and enforcement in their institutions. Both agencies agree that this partnership is a pivotal step in enriching the interest of law students to pursue IP as a specialization.
“One way to know that we have effectively maximized this partnership is when we see an increasing number of legal professionals in the Philippines specializing in IP. We will begin to see these effects once we achieve a strengthened education system that students and professionals can depend on to enhance their competence and confidence in IP,” Dr. Romero added.
On LEB’s end, Chief Operating Officer Aaron Misa Dimaano sees the new ties as a prime opportunity to build a stronger connection with the IP community and effectively integrate IP in legal education.
“We are looking at creating specialized courses in law schools so that our future lawyers can consider specializing in IP. If we see more schools focusing and promoting IP, then I believe that would be a good marker that this partnership is succeeding,” Dimaano said.
Barba lauded the MOU, pointing out the timeliness of the partnership as IPOPHL has also recently partnered with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to support the protection of the IP rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“These are just a few links IPOPHL is forging to strengthen the development of the country’s IP system. This is also aligned with the BRIGHT Agenda that IPOPHL adopted to build more collaboration and partnerships to create a whole-of-society approach in promoting IP,” Barba remarked.
IPOPHL continuously works with institutions, such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System to push for the institutionalization of IP education in schools.
IPOPHL further welcomes the guidance and support from other government agencies, academic institutions, development organizations and the private sector in firming up protection and the culture of IP respect in the Philippines.
Created pursuant to Republic Act 7662, also known as the Legal Education Reform Act of 1993, LEB is mandated to uplift the standards of legal education to prepare law students for advocacy, counseling, analysis and decision-making and infuse in them the ethics of the legal profession.
During the MOU signing, the body was also represented by Commissioner Salex Espinosa Alibogha, Chief Education Specialist Rodrigo C. Sagum and Dimaano.