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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has received unanimous international endorsement to be designated as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, an agreement administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
In her presentation, IPOPHL Director General Josephine Santiago noted that the IPOPHL has satisfied the requirements for designation as ISA/IPEA. The IPOPHL has:
- 110 full-time patent examiners adequately trained in search and examination;
- full access to the minimum documentation, which include publicly available and propriety databases, such as Thomson Innovation, WIPS Global Database, EPOQUENet, among others;
- patent examiners skilled in conducting search and examination in the required technical fields in English, one of the official languages of the PCT system;
- a Quality Management System and stringent internal review mechanisms, including in-process quality checks, 3-person team for search report and written opinion, adoption of patent quality manual.
Santiago said the Office has the competence to conduct patent prior art searches and preliminary examination of international patent applications filed under the PCT. In addition, she presented the administrative, operational and infrastructure reforms undertaken by the IPOPHL in preparation for its ISA/IPEA application and the innovative agenda and institutional partnerships of IPOPHL in support of the designation. Santiago cited the vivacious Philippine economy and the country’s achievement of having a highly successful network of Innovation and Technology Support Offices or ITSOs and universities, which becomes a potential source of patent filings. Santiago also highlighted another promising development during her presentation, which being the recent ranking of the Philippines by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), being among the top 15 preferred investment destinations of multinational enterprises.
The Working Group on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), sitting as Committee on Technical Cooperation (CTC), reviewed the IPOPHL’s application and unanimously endorsed it for approval by the PCT Union Assembly during the General Assembly of the WIPO Member States in October 2017.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an international treaty that allows patent applicants to file a single application in one intellectual property office and seek protection in multiple countries. The Philippines is seeking designation as an ISA/IPEA under the treaty. There are only 22 ISAs/IPEAs worldwide.
If appointed, the IPOPHL will become the 23rd ISA/IPEA, and the 2nd in the ASEAN region. The Philippines is one of the founding members of ASEAN, which is commemorating its 50th Anniversary this year.
About the Author :Abin T. Sam, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
 Application made by IPOPHL was reviewed and endorsed by the Working Group (sitting as Committee on Technical Cooperation) on PCT.
 S. Sausa, Raadee. “IPOPHL endorsed as global authority on patents”. manilatimes.net. http://www.manilatimes.net/ipophl-endorsed-global-authority-patents/326961/ (accessed 18th May, 2017).
 Mercurio, Richmond. “Philippines seek status as international authority on patent”. PhilstarGlobal. http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/05/13/1699295/philippines-seeks-status-international-authority-patent (accessed 30th May 2017)