Tag Archives: Philippines

International Patent Office of Philippines appointed as “International Authority on Patents” by WIPO

Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) was designated as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) on October 5, 2017 at the 57th WIPO General Assembly and 49th Session of the PCT Union Assembly [1] becoming second country of Southeast Asia and 23rd country of world to be assigned as an International Authority on Patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Patent Cooperation Treaty is an international agreement administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that allows applicants and inventors to file a single international patent application which will have the legal effect of filing in the different countries bound by the treaty.

The IPOPHIL assigned designations, as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), will remain in force until 31 December 2027 [2]. IPOPHL can now contribute towards more efficient functioning of PCT system by encouraging IP system in all the other developing countries along with promoting the use of patent system in Philippines and harness the strengths of the Philippines as an Intellectual Property (IP) hub in the region. Philippines is the second international searching authority in South East Asia having massive population of young talent, approx. 104 million, is expected to spur innovation and technological advancement that are key factors in deepening ASEAN economic integration.

Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations stated that the appointment of IPOPHL at this designation complements the government policy of mainstreaming science, technology and innovation platform across national and local development agenda. He added that it would further foster research and development in country, fitting into the country’s development plan “Philippine Development Plant (PDP) 2017-2022” [3], which is leaning toward a high-trust society and a globally-competitive knowledge economy.

Director General of IPOPHL, Josephine R. Santiago, remarked that the designation of IPOPHIL as ISA and IPEA complements the national development plan and will transform the country into a knowledge-driven and innovative society which in turn will promote R&D activities. She further stated that IPOPHL has satisfied the requirements for designations as ISA/IPEA. She briefed about the number of improvements undertaken by the IPOPHL to meet the requirements of appointment in the past two years. The requirements include:

(i) Sufficient number of technical and manpower competence to carry out search and examination in required technical fields;
(ii) Use of comprehensive commercial and publicly-accessible databases covering patent and non-patent science and engineering databases, for search and examination;
(iii) A comprehensive and multi-tiered quality management system namely, in-process quality check, ISO QMS 9001:2008 and internal Patent Quality Review System (PQRS); and
(iv) Recommendation by established international authorities particularly the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and IP Australia.

In 2015, 43.5% of the PCT applications were filed by Asia and a progressive growth has been noticed by Southeast Asian countries in registration of patent applications in recent years. Thus there is high demand for international PCT work. Philippines with its seventy years of expertise in search and examination well-suits to serve this growing demand of system.

Author: Shilpi Saxena, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana Advocates and IP Attorneys can be reached at shilpi@iiprd.com.






European Patent Office (hereinafter “EPO”) had launched the Patent Prosecution Highway (hereinafter “PPH”) program on July 1st, 2017 [1]. The PPH Pilot Program is part of the agreement made between Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (hereinafter “IPOPHL”), Director General Atty. Josephine R. Santiago and EPO President, Benoit Battistelli on 5 October 2016 [2] at the sidelines of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly. The EPO and the IPOPHL announced on 10 October 2016 [4] their intention to launch a comprehensive Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program.The PPH pilot program between the EPO and IPOPHL starting from 1st July 2017will run for three years ending on 30 June 2020 [4].

What is Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program?

Patent Prosecution Highway is a global work-sharing framework that allows patent applicants, whose applications have been considered allowable by a patent office, to request the preferential examination of the corresponding applications in another patent office based on the examination results issued by a PPH office [2]. Patent applicants follow a simple procedure when making the request. Another aspect of this program that eases the prosecution process of patent applications is that another Intellectual Property Office in conducting substantive examination in the corresponding applications can use work products from one Intellectual Property Office as reference. In other words, PPH leverages on the fast-track patent examination procedures alreadyavailable in the IP Offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.

Under the IPOPHL-EPO PPH Pilot Program, the patent applications, which are prosecuted under the PPH Program, shall be subject to certain guidelines present in IPOPHL MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO.17-007 [1]. The patent applicants and their agents who desire to make use of this program had to file the duly accomplished Request Form and Claim Correspondence Table present in the Annex B of the circular [1]. This is the minimum requirement for the processing of a PPH Request.

Under this program, patent applicants should file the claims which have been found patentable either by the IPOPHL or by EPO andmay ask for preferential examination of their corresponding patent applications at the former IP Office after following a simple procedure and with minimal documentary requirements. This PPH Program is available for national and PCT applications.

The PPH Program has 45 participating countries worldwide. The IPOPHL became a member of the PPH network on February 2012 when it signed its first PPH agreement with the Japan Patent Office (JPO).The IPOPHL now has bilateral PPH agreements with the JPO, USPTO, KIPO and EPO [3].

About the Author: Shilpi Saxena, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana Advocates and IP Attorneys can be reached at shilpi@iiprd.com.



[1] http://www.ipophil.gov.ph/images/Patents/MemoCircularNo_17-007.pdf




[3] http://ipophil.gov.ph/services/patents/patent-prosecution-highway-pph


[4] https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/2017/06/a47.html


Geographical Branding for the Mangoes from Guimaras (Philippines)

Guimaras, touted as the “Mango Capital of the Philippines”, celebrated its Manggahan Festival in May 22nd this year.[1] In fact no one will dispute if Guimaras is proclaimed as the “Mango Capital of the WORLD”, considering their sheer love for the sweet fruit, evident by the consumption and sale of varied items of mangoes, ranging right from ‘Mango Pizzas’ to ‘Mango Ketchups’!

But shifting attention from the region to the actual fruit, the reportedly (believed to be) ‘sweetest-variety’ Mangoes from the region, as reported by Manilla Bulletin[2], have finally been granted a Geographical Indication tag which will boost its export which had dwindled in the past few years owing to erratic weather conditions[3] Manila Bulletin’s report was further confirmed by the Western regional director of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of Philippines, Rebecca Rascon.

The GI tag provides protection to the unique native products originating from that particular region in the country and therefore certifies that the mangoes are grown and produced by members of Guimaras Mango Growers and Producers Development Cooperative. The move will surely go a long way in protecting the reputation of Guimaras Mangoes from “fake” and low quality mangoes, meanwhile also ensuring the label of ‘Guimaras Mangoes’ are no longer used by other producers to sell and earn profits from; and that the consumers are buying real Guimara mangoes only.

DTI’s Intellectual Property Office of Philippines (IPOPHL) was responsible for processing the registration of Guimaras mangoes as one of the country’s native products with geographical branding.[4]

The launch of the GI tag was the highlight of this year’s Manggahan Festival, which ended on May 22. The mango festival also coincided with the 25th founding anniversary of Guimaras, which was previously part of Iloilo province.

Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin, meanwhile has established Task Force Golden Island to strongly enforce and make sure that non-Guimaras mangoes are not sold in the local market.

About the author : Abin T. Sam, Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. Can be reached at abhijeet@khuranaandkhurana.com


[1] A. French, Lillberth. ‘New record in Manggahan ‘eat-all-you-can’. Philippines Information Agency. http://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/931495529552 (accessed on 16th June 2017).

[2] Yap, Tara. ‘Guimaras mangoes earn geographical branding’. Manila Bulletin. http://newsbits.mb.com.ph/2017/05/20/guimaras-mangoes-earn-geographical-branding/ (accessed on 27th June 2017).

[3] Santos, Maricyn. ‘GI seal protection from fake Guimaras Mangoes’. Banner News. https://thedailyguardian.net/banner-news/gi-seal-protection-fake-guimaras-mangoes/ (accessed on June 2017).

[4] ‘Guimaras gets IPO GI seal for sweetest mangoes’. Philippines News Agency. http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/986928. (accessed on 16th June 2017).