An agreement was recently signed between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the establishment of the SciTech Superhighway Program.

SciTech 1024x576 - SciTech Superhighway Program launched by DOT, DTI-IPOPHL
(Photo via Dhel Nazario / MANILA BULLETIN)

The program was developed to facilitate and fast-track the process wherein DOST-supported innovations acquire intellectual property rights and protection particularly inventions, utility models (UMs), industrial designs (IDs) and trademarks (TMs).

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, and IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba in a virtual ceremony.

IPOPHL Director General Barba acknowledged the most recent challenges that the country has undergone including the pandemic and strong typhoons. He noted that the program can contribute in helping establish stronger, resilient and innovative economies and societies.

DTI Secretary Lopez said he believes that the program will help entrepreneurs reap the benefits of their creations. He expressed confidence that the program will pave the way for swifter application processes for inventors and entrepreneurs which can help them generate more socially relevant technologies.

He also said that a fast and responsive IP system can convert innovation projects as a steady source of livelihood and higher income jobs.

In his keynote message, DOST Secretary de la Peña emphasized the importance of a strong and effective intellectual and industrial property system to attract many researchers, inventors, investors and markets. He said that the collaboration of the three agencies goes far back in 2007 when they collaborated for the National Innovation Strategy then the Technology Transfer Act which was implemented in 2010. He added that the program will also play a crucial role in protecting scientific developments before their release to the markets.

The one-hour virtual signing ceremony was also attended by DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara who served as one of the witnesses for the signing of the MOA. She said that she hopes the Superhighway Program will inspire more Filipino inventors to create more technologies and apply for IP rights so they can reap the benefits of their creations.

To oversee program implementation, a Technical Working Group (TWG) was formed with members selected from DOST and IPOPHL.  DOST Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) Director Edgar I. Garcia will serve as co-chairperson of the group, alongside Atty. Mary Grace Cruz-Yap of the Documentation Information and Technology Transfer Bureau (DITTB) of IPOPHL. 

The SciTech Superhighway Program agreement will take effect one month after the signing of the MOA.

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