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IPOPHL, PEZA partner to bolster investor confidence in economic zones using IP system

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to promote the use of the intellectual property (IP) system in furthering business and innovative activities within special economic zones (SEZ). 

Signed by IPOPHL Director General Rowel. S. Barba and PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga in December 2023, the MOU establishes a biennial work plan to promote IP protection to current and potential investors in the SEZ. 

“By underlining the importance of protecting and enforcing IP rights in these areas, current and potential companies and investors can do business in the Philippines knowing their IP assets are in safe hands,” IPOPHL Barba said.

Along with the work plan, the two parties are set to mainstream IP into PEZA’s developmental goals by conducting knowledge orientation and skills training to its officials and staff. 

Meanwhile, Panga has expressed PEZA’s enthusiasm to form the work plan with the help of existing investors and locators in SEZs.

“[This MOU] can simplify our procedures to make it easy for our locators — those particularly applying for patents and trademarks. From our end, we would also look into inputs from our investors,” said Panga, underlining the priority to promote IP among PEZA stakeholders.

For the first half of 2023, PEZA reported P25.9 billion in exports, 1.8 million direct jobs and 102 new or expansion projects.

As of September 2023, PEZA has established 422 ecozones across the country, which are home to 4,372 locator companies. 

Meanwhile, the Philippines remains an attractive investment destination to neighboring countries since its exclusion from the European Commission’s IP watchlist in 2020 and the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Report in 2013.

“We want to boost the confidence of foreign direct investors where PEZA is a key player. As such, our goal here is to assure investors that the Philippines is a suitable and secure destination with a strong IP system where investments are protected,” Barba said. 

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