MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed lawyer Rowel S. Barba as the new Director General (DG) of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
A well-known figure in the business and law circles, Barba took his oath at the Palace on Feb. 6, 2020.
As IPOPHL DG, Barba has the following powers and responsibilities, pursuant to Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of 1998: manage and direct all functions and activities of the Office, including the promulgation of rules and regulations to implement the objectives, policies, plans, programs and projects of the Office; exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all decisions rendered by the Director of Legal Affairs, the Director of Patents, the Director of Trademarks, and the Director of the Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau; and Exercise original jurisdiction to resolve disputes relating to the terms of a license involving the author's right to public performance or other communication of his work.
IPOPHL welcomed Barba last Tuesday, his first day to officially come on board. Deputy DGs Teodoro Pascua and Nelson Laluces toured him in his new office, where he met all IPOPHL employees at their work stations.
Directors shared with the new IPOPHL chief their short-term and long-term targets for their respective bureaus, as well as their progress in the implementation of each of their major projects.
During the turnover ceremony, Barba underscored the need to further accelerate IPOPHL’s efforts in delivering high-quality, fast, and efficient services in order to effectuate change on a more impactful scale across the country.
"Now is the time for IP to be understood by ordinary Filipinos. Now is also the time that IPOPHL should be felt by all Filipinos,” he said.
IPOPHL's Deputy DGs expect the office to go through a smooth transition in operations with Barba taking the helm, as the official has been actively supportive of IPOPHL’s programs and projects when he was Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) undersecretary.
“As the undersecretary for the DTI’s Office of the Secretary before joining us here, he had served as supervising official for IPOPHL, among other attached agencies and affiliates of DTI. Exactly why we are very pleased to have a long-time partner oversee the IP system, which the past four Director Generals have successfully established to be a now robust and highly able stimulator in unlocking the potential of innovators and creators in the country,” Pascua said.
Laluces said that with Barba's expertise gained from over 20 years of experience in business and law: “we will surely see substantial improvements in IPOPHL, and see it move closer to achieving its vision for the country -- to be an IP-conscious Philippines with a demystified, development-oriented, and democratized IP system.”
Before joining the government, Barba served as the managing partner of Barba & Associates Law Offices. He is most known for his stint at listed firm RFM Corp. as Vice President and Head of the Corporate Legal & HR Divisions; at the JAKA Group with several positions, then eventually moving up to becoming Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel; and at the Ponce Enrile Cayetano Reyes & Manalastas Law Offices as an Associate.
Barba obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Bachelor of Laws at the University of the Philippines where he contributed to the Philippine Law Journal as part of its editorial board.
Other noteworthy positions he held include being governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Southern Luzon and legal counsel of the Philippine Practical Shooting Association. (PR)