Believing in the potential of local inventors to contribute to the country’s intellectual and economic wealth, the Department of Science and Technology commits to enhance its services that support inventors.

“We are continuously looking for better ways to serve our clientele, including inventors,” DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said.

As such, Sec. Montejo instructed Dir. Edgar Garcia, head of DOST’s Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), to facilitate 100 patent applications for the year. Patent is an intellectual property right granted exclusively to inventors “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention” throughout the country. TAPI is DOST’s lead agency in supporting local inventions and DOST’s arm for technology transfer and commercialization per Executive Order No. 128, which is also formerly known as Philippine Invention Development Institute prior to post-EDSA reorganization.

Inventions, whether products or processes, are conceptualized to solve specific technological problems. And when patented, inventions contribute to the increase of the Global Competitiveness Index of the country.

To achieve the target number of patent filings, Garcia and his team explored creative ways to increase patent filings, such as partnering with patent professionals like the Association of PAQE Professionals, Inc. (APP) and the Innovation and Technology Support Office network of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. The APP is the country’s only all-patent agents association.

As well, Dr. Garcia enhanced TAPI’s other services. “For instance, we expanded our Intellectual Property Rights Assistance Program to cover not only patent and utility model applications but also other intellectual property rights,” Garcia said.

Other intellectual property rights include industrial design, trademark, and copyright.

“We also upgraded many of our assistance programs from loan assistance to full grants,” Garcia added.

He also explained that most of TAPI’s assistance programs, such as on intellectual property protection, are for free, including professional services. “But applicants should show intentions that they deserve government support,” Garcia said.

“(The validation for government support) is needed to ensure that our taxpayers’ money is well-spent, aside from meeting our quality requirements,” Montejo explained.

Moreover, DOST‘s assistance to inventors as well as innovators include the availability of all DOST technologies and services of DOST agencies, such as the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory or ADMATEL and Food Innovation Centers where inventors can enhance their creativity.

Support to National Inventors Week
By virtue of Proclamation No. 285, the National Inventors Week is celebrated every third week of November featuring local and foreign exhibits of inventions and various symposia. The NIW serves as “venue for the exchange of ideas and information including facilitation of market opportunities to encourage the generation, promotion and development of Filipino inventive capabilities,” as stated in the Proclamation.

According to TAPI, it has stopped conducting the National Invention Contest during the NIW since 2009, and instead has been holding the National Invention Contest and Exhibits (NICE) as a separate activity. TAPI tried to provide financial support to the conduct of NIW but after several incidents, the Institute “decided that no direct financial assistance would be extended to the Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative (FISPC), or to any inventor organization per se,” according to TAPI Officer-in-Charge Marion Ivy Decena.

In an official communication, Decena revealed that TAPI, in support to the NIW celebration, proposed to conduct and fund several fora to be participated in by all inventor associations. However, the FISPC, organizers of the 2014 NIW, failed to comply to basic requirements such as topics and resource persons, thus, the funding request for the NIW fora was not processed.

Yet despite some failed attempts for funding, Sec. Montejo assures of DOST’s continued support to inventors. Montejo himself was a multi-awarded inventor prior to his appointment as DOST secretary.

“DOST will never leave our fellow inventors behind, especially if they have good and novel products,” Montejo said. “However, we also need to address the problem of having too many inventor organizations.”

Too many groups lead to disunity and pursuit of individual agenda, Montejo told, and cited the NIW celebration as an example of an inventors’ event which is being celebrated by different inventors’ organizations in separate ways.

Why patent assistance requests are not granted
TAPI’s support for patent application is always available but it is “high time for the inventors to improve the quality of their disclosures to get appropriate protection,” Dr. Garcia said.

Garcia explained that patenting is a very specialized activity and is not merely a simple document that shows technological ownership.

“The basic patenting requirements according to law are novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability,” he cited.

Novelty, for instance, requires that inventions should be new anywhere in the world, while inventive step requires modifications of an existing art that should not be obvious to “a person skilled in the art.”

“Patenting is not as simple as changing something from an existing device. There should be technical effects that only our seasoned patent agents in the department can fully explain,” Garcia added.

“We usually receive poorly disclosed patent applications, aside from other reasons why applicants cannot avail of our services, such as inability to comply with our requirements,” Garcia said.

Garcia also explained that many local innovators are asking for patent assistance for their abstract ideas, such as perpetual motion machines, or unrealistic inventions, such as a power plant that can supply electricity to the whole of Visayas and Mindanao.

Some applicants even asked for at least a billion pesos for consultancy services alone, while another requested for protection of his whole clan in exchange for imaginary digital age warfare that outlines artificial intelligence as the basic tool. (S&T Media Service)

For more information on patents and intellectual property rights, pls contact:
Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena
Officer-in-Charge, DOST-TAPI
Tel. Nos. 837-6188 Ext. 2151
Fax No. 837-2936

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