Criteria
Benefits
Purpose
How to apply
Comment


The Philippines has the second biggest share of female inventors applying for patent protection through the Patent Cooperation Treaty. On 30 March 2022, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) launched the Juana Patent and Juana Design Protection (JPIP) programmes, which aim to assist female inventors in protecting their intellectual property.

Criteria

The JPIP programmes will waive certain fees for 50 inventions, 150 utility models and 150 industrial designs. In order to be selected, the following criteria must be met:

  • The applicant must be engaged in a business activity that is considered as a priority sector by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) or by IPOPHL.(1)
  • The applicant's business name must be registered by the DTI, the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Cooperative Development Agency.
  • The applicant's total assets must not exceed 100 million Philippine pesos.
  • If the applicant is an enterprise, it must have no more than 20 employees.
  • The applicant must have been engaged in business for at least one year. Alternatively, it must have limited financial capability or other similar conditions indicating inadequate financial capacity.
  • At least one applicant, co-inventor, co-maker or co-designer must be a woman who is a Philippine national. If the applicant is a small or medium-sized enterprise (MSME), it must be a woman-led or woman-owned Philippine enterprise domiciled in the Philippines.
  • The applicant must not have previously been granted funding under the Philippine Inventors and Inventions Incentive Act.

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Figure 1: JPIP programmes

Benefits

If selected to take part in the JPIP programmes, applicants will benefit from various fee waivers, saving them up to 2,700 Philippine pesos for industrial designs and utility models and up to 5,100 Philippine pesos for patents.(2) Their applications will also be prioritised and fast-tracked.

Purpose

The aim of the JPIP programmes is to "promote gender inclusivity and enhance national innovation", according to Bureau of Patents Director Lolibeth Medrano. Recognising the particularly significant impact of the covid-19 pandemic on minority groups, IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba said:

[T]he JPIP comes at an ideal time to assist [vulnerable groups] in recovering from the pandemic's livelihood losses and economic challenges. By assisting them in capitalizing their ingenuity and protecting their intellectual property (IP), we are also fulfilling our commitment to do more to empower women to spur innovation in the country.

How to apply

Applications opened on 15 April 2022 and will remain open until 30 April 2023, or until sufficient applications have been received. To apply, applicants must file a JPIP Request for Waiver of Fees with IPOPHL or any of its satellite offices.

Comment

The IPOPHL has doubled down on its efforts to promote female involvement in the Philippines IP system in recent years. In 2017, the IPOPHL launched the Juana Make a Mark (JMM) programme, which waives certain fees relating to filing trademark applications, following similar eligibility criteria to those outlined above. So far, the JMM programme has helped over 4,000 women and woman-led MSMEs.

The Philippines efforts in this regard have not gone unrewarded: the World Intellectual Property Organization recently cited the country as having the second biggest share of female inventors applying for patent protection through the Patent Cooperation Treaty behind Cuba. It is hoped that the recent JPIP programmes will provide a further boost to female inventors in this regard.

Interestingly, the IPOPHL has decided to name the scheme Juana, which is the feminine version of the Spanish male name Juan. Spain's influence in the Philippine legal system remains remarkably strong.

For further information on this topic please contact Ian Mirandah at Mirandah Asia by telephone (+60 322 788 686) or email ([email protected]). The Mirandah Asia website can be accessed at www.mirandah.com.

Endnotes

(1) DTI priority sectors include:

  • agri-business,
  • food and resource-based processing;
  • electronic manufacturing services and semi-conductor manufacturing services;
  • automotive and auto parts;
  • aerospace parts;
  • chemicals;
  • shipbuilding (roll-on/roll-off as well as small and medium-sized vessels);
  • design-oriented furniture and garments,
  • tool and die;
  • IT and business management;
  • transport and logistics;
  • tourism; and
  • construction.

(2) Details of the fees that will be waived under the JPIP can be found on the IPOPHL website.