IPOPHL wants local SMEs to secure global trademarks


The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is urging at least 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to secure trademarks with global recognition by 2024.

On Thursday, the IPOPHL launched Juan for the World program which seeks to aid SMEs in applying for trademarks under the Madrid Protocol. It provides IP protection in up to 125 countries with just single application.

“We hope to empower SMEs on a global scale. We hope to make them realize the opportunities in the global markets and how early protection of trademarks can help them grow their business,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said during the launch.

Barba said IPOPHL has received only 154 applications from SMEs out of the total 436 since the Philippines’s accession to the Madrid Protocol in 2012 until last year.

He attributed this to “lack of financing and know-how on the international trademark application process,” which the program seeks to address.

Stressing the benefits of registering trademarks abroad, Bureau of Trademarks Director Jesus Antonio Z. Ros said the program will “provide the trademark owners with the necessary technical and financial assistance with respect to branding and registration as well as in gaining market access abroad.”

He noted that securing IP protection in foreign markets will allow SMEs to have additional revenues, bolstering the country’s bid for achieving inclusive growth.

Among the eligibility criteria set for the program include the following: the applicant must be identified by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as an SME and part of priority industries; it has valid and existing registered mark with IPOPHL; and it has “significant potential or actual market abroad.”

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said his agency is working with IPOPHL for this program to ensure that MSMEs will be able to register their trademarks under the Madrid Protocol.

“And with the support of our private sector partners, MSMEs will gain the necessary technical and financial assistance needed with respect to branding, registration, and market access,” he said.

“DTI has always believed that an effective strategy in managing IP rights can increase the value of MSMEs. Given that this sector contributes significantly to the Philippine economy, IP in MSME growth strategies can hence generate more and higher-income jobs.”

The Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) welcomed the program.

PFA President Sherill R. Quintana said securing global trademark will allow the Filipino brands to access the market overseas, which can further contribute to the growing franchising sector.

PRA Vice Chairman Paul A. Santos, meanwhile, highlighted the need to protect the IP rights of the SMEs, especially those “exploring” the e-commerce field, which he described as the “gateway” for global markets.

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