By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has urged the government and the educational sector to put more focus on research and development that will lead to inventions and scientific discoveries with patents and copyrights because these will give more economic impact in the longer term instead of pursuing short-term solutions.
IPOPHL Deputy Director-General Teodoro C. Pascua said during a talk with reporters at the recent ITSO (Innovation and Technology Support Office) Presidents’ Summit in Makati that IPOPHL is encouraging schools to emphasize R and D that will lead to more products with patents and trademarks.
ITSOs are based in universities, colleges, other higher educational institutions (HEIs), and research and development (R&D) institutions that were initially envisioned to house patent libraries where budding innovators can be guided in their patent searches.
“We are encouraging schools to encourage students to take up subjects that will produce R and D outputs that are good for the country,” said Pascua as he noted of more graduates on AB Philosophy and accounting but few in the math and engineering fields.
The school’s inventions are also being pushed matched with the industry for their practical application and commercialization. The Philippines was ranked as the most improved in the latest Global Innovation Index because of more patents and registration for utility models.
He noted that there are only two medicines the Philippines has produced “Sambong” and “Lagundi,” but the rest are still anecdotal or supplements because no further research have been made to establish the elements or the curative effects of these indigenous plants.
One area that R & D should go into is on medicines with expiring patents because there are still other elements that may be discovered from these drugs.
To encourage schools to pursue R and D outputs that will lead to patents and copyrights, Pascua said IPOPHL is urging the Commission on Higher Education to double the points for inventions from the current 5-7 to 15. These points are needed for school’s accreditation for higher education.
In addition, Pascua noted of the huge government budget for the modernization of the military when war is no longer fought through military hardware.
“I am not demeaning the Department of National Defense,” Pascua said but stressed that the more effective to strengthen the country’s security is through a strong economy because the military hardware is no longer the trend now, but countries are engaged in trade wars.
Pascua cited the case of Singapore whose economy is driven by strong technological inventions because of the government’s focus towards technological advancements.
The Philippines, however, has not really focused on R & D as budget for this field could not even account for 1 percent of GDP as against the international standard of 5 percent.
But the government huge budget for government programs like the conditional cash transfer (CCT) and the 4 Ps are short term solutions, but which can be used for R & D projects with long term economic impact.
At the Summit, IPOPHL has encouraged its ITSO partners to heighten their focus and research efforts toward potential inventions that are genuinely innovative, novel, and responsive to the needs of the greater society.