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IPOPHL’s youth incentive program slashes patent approval time for first beneficiary 

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Dr. Proceso L. Fernandez, Jr. was pleased to learn that a patent application under his watch secured a grant in only 1.5 years. As director of the Ateneo Intellectual Property Office (AIPO) for three years and after hundreds of applications facilitated, he is aware that the average turnaround time to secure a patent at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is two to three years.

“We are very delighted to learn that our patent application has been granted at an impressive pace. This is a remarkable achievement, and it is a testament to many things – the efficient systems that IPOPHL has put in place, the ingenuity of the inventor and his invention, and the close coordination among the different parties involved,” Fernandez said.  

The patent application was granted on April 11, 2023 to the Pili Seal [Patent No.: 1/2021/050500] invented by Mark Kennedy Bantugon, an aeronautical engineer who started the invention as a thesis while studying at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics. Early on, he already had a dual goal: (1) reduce the country’s heavy dependence on importing sealants for aircrafts — as no such product is manufactured domestically — and (2) create an organic product with less carbon footprint and safer than the imported chemical-laden sealants that bring health hazards to workers with long exposures to such products.

Sealants serve to reinforce the integral structure of aircraft parts and prevent leakage of liquids that could damage critical functions of parts. Hence, adhesiveness was a critical determining factor for Bantugon’s success.

Although not yet fully realized as an invention then, the project was pursued and improved after Bantugon graduated from college. He partnered with Lufthansa Technik Philippines which allowed him to put five other plants to trial.  Finally, after 80 different formulations, he found the Pili plant bearing the sweetest and stickiest of promises; where some lasted two to three months in adhesiveness, the pili extract provided results lasting for over a year. 

Eventually, what started as a thesis went on to bag the Collegiate Grand Winner award of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Alfredo M. Yao Awards 2020 and the national James Dyson award in 2021, both much coveted badges of honor for any starting inventor. 

At this point, Bantugon might seem to have finished the race. But the young inventor knows he just crossed the first lap and more laps are to be hurdled for his finish line is where his invention meets the market. 

YIPI program

In ensuring the protection of his invention, Bantugon sought the help of IPOPHL through its Youth Intellectual Property Incentive (YIPI) Program.

Through the YIPI Program, IPOPHL waives several fees in the application of young inventors, designers and entrepreneurs while providing intensive technical consultations for a trouble-free application process.

“With the YIPI Program, I was able to take one crucial step in transitioning my invention to commercialization. Doon po nagkaroon po ng mas intact technical consultation with IPOPHL’s experts and to have the right direction po sa patent application (It was through this program that I had a more intact technical consultation with the experts and to have the right direction in the patent application),” Bantugon said. 

Today, Bantugon is diversifying the uses of his Pili Seal at the Mapua Engineering Research and Development for Technology as a graduate student sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology. He is bullish in expanding the use of his technology in other sectors, such as infrastructure. At the same time, he is participating in an incubator program at the Ateneo de Manila University where he is building connections as a fresh entrepreneur and meeting up with several investors from the manufacturing industry wanting to jumpstart and be part of his commercial success.

In between his business pitches, Bantugon sees the usefulness of securing and knowing about his IP rights more clearly as he can negotiate for licensing terms most agreeable to his goal of having Philippine industries benefit the most from his Pili Seal. 

“Wag po tayong matakot to protect (Let’s not be afraid of protecting) our creative ideas because it will really help us to secure, assure and have peace of mind on our intellectual property rights as a ‘PILIpino Inventor’ as we move further and bring our inventions into commercialization and business markets. Bantugon was encouraging fellow young inventors and entrepreneurs, noting that the patent protection journey with IPOPHL is easy, costs less through the YIPI program and is guaranteed to have a 360-degree assistance from intellectual property experts of the office.

“[IPOPHL’s] quick responses and feedback helped us submit a high-quality application. We also commend IPOPHL for their professionalism and efficiency in reviewing and processing our application. This fast patent grant not only highlights the uniqueness and value of the invention but also encourages other innovators to protect their creations,” said Ateneo’s Innovation and Technology Support Office Manager Vanessa E. Malapit, MSc.

The YIPI program continues to accept applications from young inventors, entrepreneurs and industrial designers. Benefits, eligibility, program mechanics can be viewed and the application form downloaded through the YIPI webpage.

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