In a landmark move, two government agencies partnered to transfer government-funded research projects that amount to P25 million.
“This partnership was never done in the government sector before.” Engr. Edgar I. Garcia, TAPI’s Director, said during the inception meeting between the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), both of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
TAPI is the patenting and licensing arm of DOST while PCAARRD funded said projects that are due for transfer and geared towards Fairness Opinion issuance.
Under Republic Act No. 10055, also known as the “Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009”, any government-funded research is required to secure a Fairness Opinion from the Secretary of the DOST, particularly in licensing agreements and spinoffs, before it is transferred.
Two of these projects, technology assessment and IPR protection, aimed to file at least 25 patents and utility model applications and assess 100 technologies in two years. According to Caezar Angelito E. Arceo, supervising science research specialist at TAPI and a registered patent agent, technology assessment shall be done in the areas of technical and industrial feasibility, intellectual property (IP) potentials, and market readiness of PCAARRD-funded research projects and technologies.
Another project on IP and technology valuation, led by Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena, chief of the Invention Development Division of TAPI, intends to assess the market value of at least 16 technologies in two years. Valuation is relatively new in the country and TAPI is presently building up capacity along this area, while recently outsourcing IP valuation assistance under a different project.
Meanwhile, a project to assess the Freedom to Operate (FTO) of PCAARRD’s technologies was successfully proposed by Teresita O. De Vera, supervising SRS. The fifth project on Fairness Opinion issuance is being led by Director Garcia. FTO is also a relatively unexplored area in commercializing DOST technologies, with some technologies initially being evaluated under a separate TAPI project.
Dr. Melvin B. Carlos, director of PCAARRD’s Technology Transfer and Promotion Division, and Noel A. Catibog, manager of the newly created DOST-PCAARRD Innovation and Technology Center in Los Baños, Laguna, along with Dir. Garcia, all agreed and expressed optimism that after PCAARRD-funded projects pass the Fairness Opinion Board (FOB) evaluation, proposed transactions will be prepared through these projects in order to have better chances for successful technology transfer and commercialization. This was also expressed by Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, PCAARRD’s Executive Director, in a previous meeting.
Atty. Decena explained that three of the projects for IP, FTO, and valuation are important in preparing technologies for pitching and negotiation. In turn the documents and information to be generated from these projects are needed to secure Fairness Opinion.
“All of the five projects will complement TAPI’s mandated functions as patenting and licensing arm of DOST and being the secretariat of the FOB,“ said Atty. Decena, who is also assigned as the focal person of the five projects.
Dr. Carlos and Catibog expressed high hopes that PCAARRD-funded technologies will be efficiently rolled out in the market through the five TAPI programs.
DOST-TAPI is mandated to serve as the FOB Secretariat, with Director Garcia as chair with Atty. Decena, Arceo, and Engr. Richelle D. Cahanap as members. Under the law, the FOB must be constituted within 30 days from the formal request, and Fairness Opinion must be issued within 60 days from the constitution of the FOB. A fast-tracked mechanism was recently innovated by TAPI to trim down the required 90 days to at least one to 15 days to obtain Fairness Opinion. As of this writing 20 out of 64 proposed transactions were already issued with Fairness Opinion, three of which are biofertilizers, 12 are food processing machines, and one is an agricultural machine.