IP filings drop in 2020; rebound seen with economic reopening

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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) filings declined in 2020 as inventors and creatives delayed the filing of applications during the lockdown declared to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said applications for trademarks dropped 10% year on year to 35,274, while applications for patents fell 9% to 3,648.

Utility model filings declined 45% to 1,235, while industrial design filings fell 23% to 1,259. Copyright deposits fell 44% to 940.

IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said in a statement Wednesday that the lower number of IP applications was expected as economic uncertainty dampened investment in intangible assets.

“But with the gradual opening up of the economy and the anticipated vaccine rollout, we hope to see more fresh investments in IP assets this year,” he said.

Mr. Barba said that he is hoping that recovery will mirror the growth in filings after the 2008 global financial crisis.

Past global crises, he added, have caused the closure or repurposing of less-efficient firms and emphasized the competitiveness of more dynamic companies.

“Historically, those who put research and innovation at the center of their strategies are those who stand out and thrive in the face of disruption,” he said.

“Thus, lower filings may signal a redirection of growth paths, favoring the highly competitive and innovative, rather than stymied innovation.”

IPOPHL plans to continue digitizing its operations to widen access to its services. —  Jenina P. Ibañez

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