In celebration of National Women’s Month, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (“IPOPHL”) launched the Juana Patent and Juana Design Protection Incentive Program (JPIP) last March 2022. This program aims to empower female inventors and female-led and/or female-owned micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs) by promoting the protection of their intellectual property through the waiver of certain fees.
This incentive package covers inventions, utility models, and industrial design applications. Based on the JPIP webpage, the program provides for a waiver of filing fees, excess claim fees, embodiment fees (not exceeding ten), first publication fees, and substantive examination fees. Further, the IPOPHL estimated that this new program will enable women-inventors and women-led MSMEs to save around P2,700 for industrial designs and utility models and around P5,100 for patents. Furthermore, applications filed under the program will also be prioritized and coursed through IPOPHL’s fast lanes.
Bureau of Patents Director Lolibeth R. Medrano stated that this program aims to promote gender inclusivity and enhance national innovation. It intends to encourage the protection of innovations and designs by women and enhance women’s awareness and competence in intellectual property. Further, the program also endeavors to promote the use of intellectual property to enhance MSME competitiveness, assist businesses and entrepreneurs in recovering from COVID-19 downturn, and support the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) entrepreneurship program.
The program also aspires to contribute to closing the gender gap in the country, especially in intellectual property. According to the IPOPHL, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ranked the Philippines as the second country with the biggest share of women inventors applying through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Data from WIPO in 2021 provides that about 38% of all PCT applications coursed through the IPOPHL came from women inventors, which is significantly higher than the 22% share of women inventors recorded in 2020.
Director-General Rowel Barba also emphasized that JPIP is an expansion of IPOPHL’s Juana Make a Mark program for trademarks. He said that JPIP proves IPOPHL’s commitment to MSMEs, especially women entrepreneurs, in helping them utilize the intellectual property system to grow their businesses. The IPOPHL envisions that this will, in turn, help MSMEs contribute to sustaining the country’s economic recovery.
To strengthen the program, the IPOPHL signed a Memorandum of Agreement with DTI on 30 March 2022. Under the MOA, the DTI will help promote JPIP and will endorse individuals, MSMEs, and start-ups engaged in the DTI’s priority sectors. DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez also reiterated the role of intellectual property as a valued asset and business tool for entrepreneurs.
The JPIP webpage lists the following requirements that the applicant must satisfy to qualify under the program:
- Engaged in business activity/ies considered as priority sectors by DTI or by IPOPHL;
- Business Names registered by DTI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA)
- Total Assets shall not exceed P100 Million pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act 9501 otherwise known as the Magna Carta for MSMEs;
- If the applicant is an enterprise, it shall have no more than twenty (20) employees;
- Engaged in business for at least one (1) year or with limited financial capability or other similar conditions indicating inadequate financial capacity;
- At least one applicant, co-inventor or co-maker or co-designer is a woman who is a Philippine national or if the applicant is an MSME, it must be woman-led or woman-owned Philippine enterprise domiciled in the Philippines; and
- Has not availed funding under Republic Act 7459 otherwise known as the Philippine Inventors and Inventions Incentive Act.
The JPIP started accepting applications on 15 April 2022 and will run until 30 April 2023 or until there are 50 inventions, 150 utility models, and 150 industrial designs qualified applications under the program.