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IPOPHL opens 69th ASEAN IP meeting in Bohol to map out future priorities

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), as chair of the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Committee (AWGIPC), officially opened the 69th AWGIPC Meeting this week, aiming to lay out the future work of the ASEAN intellectual property (IP) offices and strengthen collaborations critical to resolve pressing IP issues and harness the IP system for a resilient post-pandemic recovery.

Delegates from ASEAN IP offices and external dialogue partners gathered in Panglao Island, Bohol from March 14 to 17, 2023.

AWGIPC Chair and IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba lauded the ASEAN Member States (AMS) for their hard work to move the region closer to its aspirations under the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan 2016 – 2025.

The agenda for the four-day meeting include exploring harmonization of the IP filing system in the region; building a robust enforcement environment in the digital space; furthering the ASEAN creative economy; and making the IP system an accessible and effective tool for growth for MSMEs and independent innovators and creators.

“As we move forward, it is important to remember that IPR is not an isolated field. It intersects with numerous other sectors and the work done in other working groups, such as e-commerce, science and technology, MSMEs development, and the digital economy. We need to continue to work towards closer cross-sectoral collaboration with other key ASEAN groups to ensure that our efforts in IPR are aligned with broader economic development goals,” Barba said

The AWGIPC will also run consultation sessions with various external partners, namely the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Kingdom IP Office (UKIPO) the ARISE Plus IP Rights (ARISE+ IPR) Programme, Japan Patent Office (JPO), ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) IP Committee, Economic Office to the Philippine Permanent Mission to ASEAN and the Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).

Barba also expressed the AWGIPC’s deepest gratitude to the Bohol provincial government and the Department of Tourism (DOT) for extending full assistance for the successful organization of the event and giving the ASEAN delegates and external dialogue partners the warmest welcome throughout their stay.

“We thank the Provincial Government of Bohol and the DOT for fully supporting the endeavors of IPOPHL and the entire AWGIPC to underscore the importance of IP for economic growth,” Barba said.

On the first day of the AWGIPC Meeting, the Provincial Government also hosted a dinner that gave guests a glimpse of the province’s most sumptuous culinary treats and the creative talents of Boholanos with the performances of the Loboc Youth Ambassador Band, Lungsoranon Performing Arts Ensemble, Panglao Etniko Drum Beaters and the Panglao Fire Dancers.

“We Boholanos celebrate friendship and connection. We stand with you not only as your host but also as your friend and ally in the promotion and advancement of IP cooperation,” said Bohol Vice-Governor Dionisio Victor D. Baliti at the dinner also graced by Tagbilaran Mayor Jane C. Yap.

The DOT’s Central Visayas Office will also give delegates and dialogue partners a tour around key tourist destinations in the island province, namely the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier Corella and the Loboc River.

“The AWGIPC meeting is necessary for the ASEAN’s overall progress and is treated as a great opportunity for us to showcase Bohol internationally and introduce ourselves to a wider audience, not just through tourism but also through important meetings like the AWGIPC,” Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado said at the opening ceremony where he was joined by Provincial Administrator Aster C. Caberte to welcome the delegates.  

Barba described the overwhelming support from local, regional and global partners as a clear show of the broad support for IPOPHL and the AWGIPC’s work in enabling a robust IP system that benefits the region and the respective AMSs.

“Let us make full use of these collaborations to implement the ongoing and not started deliverables in our Action Plan, and to move ahead with new ideas and initiatives,” added Barba, who will be concluding and turning over his chairmanship at the end of the meeting on March 18.

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