Agnes May B. Bantigue
Delegates from intellectual property (IP) offices of eight ASEAN countries visited the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman last Thursday, October 15. The UP Diliman Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (OVCRD) hosted the delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, who were on a Sub-Regional Project Study Visit organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). The objective of the ASEAN WIPO Project Study Visit is to gather insights and learn about the experiences of Philippine universities under the Innovation and Technology Support Office (ITSO) Network established by the IPOPHL.
UP Diliman, through OVCRD’s IP and Technology Transfer Unit, is a member of the ITSO Network, and was invited to become one of the host universities, along with Adamson University and Mapua Institute of Technology, during the study visit to share its experiences, challenges, and best practices as an ITSO. The ITSO Network was established by IPOPHL in 2010 and is envisioned to enable and support increased innovation in the country by providing services and assistance in protecting, utilizing, and commercializing Filipino-generated IPs.
During the study visit, Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Fidel Nemenzo gave a short introduction about the University and the flagship campus in Diliman, highlighting the breadth of disciplines under the campus and the importance of OVCRD in facilitating the creation and use of new knowledge and research, especially with respect to IP and Technology Transfer.
The IP and Technology Transfer staff of OVCRD all participated in sharing best practices of the unit as an ITSO by presenting both the challenges that the unit has encountered and milestones it has achieved since UP Diliman’s first technology transfer activities began. While the group cited the lack of budget allocation during the initial implementation of the then-Technology Transfer Program, it was also noted that the University was supportive of the initiatives of the unit and provided the needed resources to be able to pursue IP and technology transfer activities.
The group also highlighted the role played by IPOPHL in the unit’s development and successes as an ITSO. All of its staff members have undergone trainings and workshops organized by the IPOPHL in partnership with institutions like WIPO. With the help of IPOPHL, the University was also able to acquire subscriptions to patent databases, and to participate in international trainings and conferences in technology transfer and IP.
The presentation was concluded by IP and Technology Transfer Unit’s Dr. Geoffrey Ducanes, who highlighted the future plans of the unit to increase its capacity to more efficiently accommodate the increasing number of IP disclosures by hiring more personnel and providing more mechanisms to enable inventors, authors, and artists to transfer to the public their IPs.
After the presentation by the unit, the delegates were given a chance to ask questions through an Open Forum. Many were asking about the commercialization of technologies, saying a patent has been granted but they aren’t able to license it out. Dr. Ducanes revealed to them that this is also the case in most universities not only in the Philippines, but also worldwide, because most university-developed technologies are not actually ready for commercialization. Dr. Ducanes said that some of the initiatives of the OVCRD is to provide bridge funding to further develop the readiness of the technology, and to work with industry partners at early stages of the researches to generate more applied research outputs.
Vice Chancellor Nemenzo, in closing the program, said that he hoped that the delegates learned from the practices of the UP Diliman ITSO and that they will apply their new learnings when they go back to their respective countries and offices.