Intellectual Property Rights and progress

The Global Innovation Index 2022 report will be up this week, and we fervently hope to see the Philippines recover dramatically from its one-notch decline from last year’s ranking.

The GII ranks the innovation performance of 132 economies based on their innovation strengths and weaknesses. This 2022 edition of the GII focuses on the long-term effects of innovation on slowing productivity and growth.

Indeed, the country heavily pins hopes on innovation to uplift the country. With the right balance between protecting intellectual property rights and enabling access to innovations for the greater interest of the public, IP will have an important role to play in the country’s long-term recovery.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself recently gave emphasis on the need for the Philippines to bolster innovation, particularly in the adoption and use of digital technologies. He expressed this during the inauguration of UnionBank’s Innovation Campus, while lauding the company for its remarkable innovative strategies.

I myself was at the unveiling of the patent wall of UnionBank a few weeks ago where about 16 patents and utility models hung as badges of pride to the bank.

According to our Patentscope, a public database to search patent applications, at least five of these innovations you see on this wall happened in the midst of Covid-19.

These innovations are mostly aimed at managing data, improving efficiency, adding more layers of security, furthering real-time monitoring, and delivering an “an overall superior customer experience.”

After a few years into applying them, UnionBank is now reaping the fruits of its innovative efforts, with positive results registered in its operations and customer relationships and increased shareholder value.

While some might think these were patents from UnionBank branches in other countries, most if not all actually originated from UnionBank’s Philippine headquarters with no less than ingenious Filipino minds behind these patents!

For companies like UnionBank, whose daily grind is competing in a fierce and unpredictable market, embarking on a digital transformation journey must be a natural instinct to innovate and survive. But what sets companies like UnionBank apart is its implementation of an aggressive IP protection strategy to conquer the paramount challenges of our time.

UnionBank should be an inspiration to local companies, especially startups.

For our part, IPOPHL’s Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau has been working with the Asian Institute of Management-Dado Banatao Incubator, or the AIM-DBI Program, to help startups in drafting patent claims.

IPOPHL’s Innovation and Technology Support Offices, meanwhile, has been supporting the creation of IP in the academe and research sectors, while also extending technical assistance to entrepreneurs and inventors.

Currently, there are 77 ITSOs all over the Philippines comprising academic, research and development and support institutions. Of this, about 30 have successfully commercialized their IP assets.

One example is the Samar State University helping to nurture Peddlr, a financial literacy and management startup company. Peddlr has raised over $4 million in seed fund and now employs a number of young people in the city of Catbalogan in Samar.

Our innovation strategy also puts onboard the talent and ingenuity of the youth. IPOPHL recently launched the Youth Intellectual Property Incentive Program, which aims to encourage and inspire the young inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs to protect and commercialize their IPs.

Whatever the outcomes of the GII this week, IPOPHL as a member of the National Innovation Council — composed of 25 members from the public and private sector — will press harder in realizing our goal of recovery through high-value IPs and “Filipinnovations” which are by the Filipinos, for the Filipinos and the world over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *