Protecting Intellectual Property

Types of intellectual properties

On the national level, Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (IP Code) covers intellectual property and its protection. The IP Code updated and consolidated the country's laws on patents, trademarks and copyright in the light of emerging global issues in the field of intellectual property and in compliance with commitments under international conventions and treaties to which the country is a party (Expressions of Creativity, IP Philippines).

Intellectual property has two categories: industrial property and copyright and neighboring rights. Industrial property includes patents, trademarks and other marks, geographic indications, utility models, industrial designs, topographies of integrated circuits and trade secrets. On the other hand, copyrights and neighboring rights include scientific, scholarly, artistic and literary works, examples of which are, musical works, dramatic works, audio visual works, paintings and drawings, sculptures, photographic works, architectural works, sound recordings, databases and computer software, and other works embodied in Part IV (Law on Copyright) of RA 8293.

Most research outputs in UPLB are in the form of inventions, utility models, industrial designs, computer programs, as well as literary, scholarly, and artistic works. Under the IP Code, inventions are protected by patents; utility models and industrial designs by their registration; and computer programs, literary, scholarly, and artistic works by copyright.

Patent

Patent is an exclusive right granted by the State through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines) to a patent owner for a product, process, or an improvement of product or process for a specified period in exchange of the full disclosure of the invention.

Patentable invention offers a technical solution to a problem in any field of human activity and must fulfill three basic criteria:

  • Novelty or newness. This is determined through a search conducted by an accredited patent office to determine if the invention is new, original, and that no prior art exists over it. Prior art means everything which has been made available to the public anywhere in the world, before the filing date or the priority date of the application claiming the invention.
  • Inventive Step. There must be an inventive step involved in creating the invention. As such, the invention must not be obvious to a person skilled in the art.
  • Industrial Applicability. There must be some use for the invention. It can be a practical solution to a problem that can benefit the public.

All three must be satisfied to obtain a patent. An invention has a term of protection of 20 years from the filing date of application. A patent owner has the right to prohibit any unauthorized person or entity from using, making, or selling his product or process. The right can also be transferred or assigned through licensing contracts.

Utility Models

Utility model is also known as a petty patent. To qualify, the invention must be new and industrially applicable. It has a term of protection of seven years, without renewal.

Industrial Design

This consists of composition of lines or colors or any three-dimensional forms which serve as a pattern for industrial products or handicrafts. An industrial design has a term of protection of five years which can be renewed for two consecutive periods of five years.

Layout Design of Circuits

The layout design or topography of circuits is commonly used in microchips and semiconductor chips for manufacturing. It has a term of protection of 10 years without renewal.

New Plant Varieties

To cover breeders' rights and protection of plant varieties, the Plant Variety Protection Act as signed into law. In order to qualify, the plant varieties should be new, distinct, uniform and table. The term of protection is 25 years from the grant of Certificate of Plant Variety Protection or trees and vines. All other types, are protected for 20 years from the grant of certificate.

Trademarks

Trademark may consists of words, names and first names, signatures,acronyms among others. It serves as an indicator of source, a guarantee of quality, and an advertising tool. The right to a trademark is granted when its owner registers it with the IP Philippines. The trademarks has a 10-year protection renewable for succeeding periods of 10 years.

Copyrights

Copyright is the exclusive and legally secured right given to creators or authors for their literary and artistic works to prohibit or authorize the reproduction or copying of the work. It allows the creator to derive economic or financial reward from the use of his works by others and to claim authorship of a work and to have that authorship recognized.

The term of protection covers the lifetime of the author and 50 years after his death. Copyright application is filed with the Copyright Division of the National Library and the Supreme Court Library.