The University of the Philippines (UP) faculty, researchers, students, staff, and visiting professors who are engaged in research and/or creative works using University resources are expected to protect and leverage their outputs for the benefit of the Filipino people. This sums up the role of Intellectual Property (IP) creators, the Technology Transfer and Business Development Office (TTBDO), and related offices and committees of the University.
Securing IP was among the key topics discussed at the 21st anniversary conference of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila) on February 28 at the Bayanihan Center, UNILAB Inc. Complex, Pasig City.
In the panel discussion on securing IP, resource speakers Patricia San Jose, a technology transfer officer of TTBDO UP Manila, and Jerry G. Ligaya, director of the Technology Licensing Office of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), advised the researchers to always protect their IP rights first before disseminating information about their outputs. This is in consideration of the researchers’ aim of contributing useful information and innovative outputs through publications and presentations in forums here and abroad.
San Jose and Ligaya encouraged members of the academe who are involved in the process of creating new knowledge, technologies, products, or IP, to apply international protocols (e.g., copyright, patent, and trademark), national policies (e.g., Republic Act No. 10055 or the Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009) and University policies in order to secure their IP to make them more useful to the public.
According to San Jose, “creations of the mind must be expressed” in tangible form before any type of IP protection or a right could be associated with it, either through a patent, trademark, copyright, industrial design, or other types of protection for IP. “It is part of the TTBDO service to identify what form of IP protection is suited to your research data sets,” she said.
San Jose provided an overview of the process. “We search for IP in our university. We do an IP audit. Most of the time, the researchers just go to our office” to disclose a new invention or a research output, she said.
“After we discover what the IP is, we recommend that we protect your IP…. We also have to determine what mode of technology transfer is best suited for your technologies. Technology transfer is a way to further develop a technology, and to commercialize, if it’s the track that you want to pursue,” explained San Jose.
“IP protection will enable us to do more things. IP is not the only thing we have to discuss when we are talking about translating health research or other forms of research data sets into actionable policies and transferable technologies. I highly encourage everyone to approach the TTBDO,” concluded San Jose.
The TTBDO offers services such as: Intellectual Property Consultation, Patent Search/Prior Art Search, Patent Drafting, Market Study, Technology Assessment, Intellectual Property Registration, Commercial Linkages/Industry Partnerships, and Innovation Deployment (see https://www.upm.edu.ph/node/2230).
Ligaya further shared practical IP protection tips.
“First, do not be a gossiper,” he said. This advice stems from the eagerness of various researchers to present their outputs in international conferences or to submit them to selected publications. “Most of them are destroying the novelty of their research,” lamented Ligaya.
“You really have to prioritize what to do with your research. Your research should be subjected to patent searching or application, if it is really patentable. If you publish it first, then you have to rush on to file for patent,” he added.
“Do not disclose your research, or the methodologies of your research. Do not uncloak it yet.” Ligaya emphasized that if the research is not sufficiently protected by the University, “don’t publish yet.” He lamented that long ago, his university had this particular research, an invention made by electrical engineering students that led to the production of the present-day prepaid electricity meter. Unfortunately, the said invention is now owned by a big corporation instead of the University due to its public disclosure and absence of IP protection. “We should protect our researches, our R&D,” he said.
“If one has an invention but doesn’t know what to do with it, he or she should seek the assistance of the technology transfer officer for the protection and commercialization of his or her invention for the use of the public,” Ligaya said. “Consult with the technology transfer officer. License. Commercialize. Enter into an agreement and profit from it. You have to protect first before you profit.” While “commercialization” means generating income, “as a state university, we should not be focusing on how the university will earn from the commercialization. The researches should be utilized by the poor communities of the country,” concluded Ligaya.
For more information, visit the UP TTBDO website.
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