The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has issued Memorandum-Circular No. 14-004 on 20 May 2014 allowing applicants to file a request for deferment of publication enabling designers and companies applying for the registration of industrial designs to keep them secret from competitors until the designs are made available in the market.
The request may be filed upon filing the design application in the Philippines or at any time before its publication. Applicants who want to avail the request may defer publication for a maximum period of thirty (30) months from the filing date or priority date of the application. In case the request for deferment is made after the filing date of the application, applicants are only allowed to defer the publication of its design application for the remaining time from the permitted thirty (30) months deferred publication period. Moreover, applicants may also request for specific publication date of the design application provided that the requested time does not exceed the allowed deferment period of thirty (30) months.
It is advisable to file a request for deferment of publication of design in the Philippines at the time of filing the application since industrial design applications which satisfy the formality requirements [i.e. a). submission of the description, claim and drawings; b). payment of the filing fee and other required fees; c). submission of the priority documents, if required; and d). submission of other required documents] are published immediately by the Patent office. This is to avoid inadvertent publication of the design application when a subsequent request for deferment is to be filed.
In order to maximize the benefits of the deferment of publication in the Philippines, it is recommended that applicants file the request for deferment at the time of filing the application or as soon as possible.