MANILA – Efforts of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) to advance women in innovation have borne fruit with the Philippines now standing as the second leading country to drive women's participation in the international patent system.

Recent data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held the Philippines as the second country with the biggest share of women inventors applying through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the international route for a patent protection.

Trailing behind Cuba where PCT women inventors outnumbered men with a 53-percent share, Philippines had women inventors making up 38 percent of all PCT applications coursed through IPOPHL. This is higher than the 22-percent share in 2020.

With this accomplishment, Director General Rowel Barba highlighted the importance of IPOPHL’s PCT filing assistance program, which waives certain application fees and provides comprehensive assistance to inventors throughout their PCT journey.

Barba said IPOPHL's designation as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) had also brought its Bureau of Patents' (BOP) capacities on par with international standards, enticing more inventors, including women, to file through PCT.

Operating as an ISA/IPEA since 2019, IPOPHL has assisted 39 inventors through the issuance of international search reports for other patent offices to use in helping determine the patentability of technology applications.

IPOPHL's learning series held last year, the "Women on Patent Knowledge Program," as well as the Bureau of Patents' (BOP) efforts to help women inventors draft their own patent application documents, have also provided a boost for PCT filings among women, Barba said.

“Seeing how women can lead decisively, compassionately and effectively, creating positive, lasting changes wherever they are, IPOPHL hopes to see our PCT program, international services as an ISA/IPEA, capacity-building assistance and awareness initiatives bring more women to take the lead in our innovation agenda,” Barba said.

BOP director Lolibeth Medrano, who is herself an inspiration to women in innovation, said “we are very proud of how much we have gained but we also recognize that more must be done.”

Medrano is a 2021 recipient of the prestigious Presidential Gawad CES Award for her efforts to secure IPOPHL’s designation as an ISA/IPEA.

For her work, Medrano will be sharing IPOPHL's best practices to empower women inventors and enhance their participation in the IP system at a March 8 WIPO webinar for women on innovation, sharing the stage with other women leaders for innovation in the Asia-Pacific region.

"It is not enough that women are innovative, creative or entrepreneurial. We must make them more IP-conscious, more IP-strategic, if we want to truly empower them and see all of us achieve our greater ambitions of gender equality and a more dynamic society,” Medrano added.

Empowering more women inventors

For this month, IPOPHL will be launching the Juana Patent for Patents (JPP) program, which builds on the success of its ongoing Juana Make a Mark (JMM) program, its leading initiative for women empowerment.

Launched in 2017, the JMM has benefited over 4,000 women and women-led MSMEs by waiving certain fees in their trademark applications.

With the JPP, eligible women inventors and women-led startups will also enjoy waived fees when they apply for invention patent grants or register their utility models or industrial designs.

IPOPHL will also be holding another round of "Women on Patent" webinar to help women further understand the patent system and the PCT application process.

For its overall celebration of women, IPOPHL will be highlighting women inventors, mediators, entrepreneurs and artists in its awareness campaign with hopes of inspiring women to create more high-value intellectual property assets. (PR)