IP Office and the Struck Businesses: What Next?
The pandemic has affected economies to a great extent, affecting businesses. Last month, a surge in the delta variant of the Covid-19 cases was seen in various Asian Countries. Some of the Asian countries such as Malaysia, Philippines have seen record numbers in terms of daily infection with Indonesia posting record numbers of 1.492 death in one day. Even after the successful hosting of the Summer Olympics recently in Japan, there has been a surge in cases as well. There are multiple mandates which businesses must work upon to overcome the effect of the pandemic. More so, undeniably there has been a good recovery in the economy for various countries as well.
Role of IP offices
IP offices also hold primary importance when it comes to post-pandemic recovery as IP plays a keen role in business recovery. Mostly, the research and innovation-driven strategies help the businesses stand out and thrive even in a crisis. Speaking to Asia IP, Rowel S. Barba, Director General of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and Chair of the ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation said, “As early as now, we are seeing disruptive companies capturing the technological growth opportunities in this pandemic. Food delivery apps, ride-hailing platforms, and e-commerce are seeing revenues soar at a time of economic downturn. Stories like theirs are compelling a golden period of innovation to happen for greater resilience and building stronger, especially ahead of a future weighed with uncertainties as many fear that COVID will be endemic.” Mr. Barba was also speaking as a panelist at the plenary session on "Charting our Future: Emerging Stronger through Innovation and IP" at IP Week @ SG 2021 from August 24 – 25, 2021.
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The classic example of the Philippines
The crisis brings such a golden period of innovation, which the IP offices must encourage businesses to work and participate in the period of innovation. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have a great role in understanding such situations. Most of the IP offices have moved to total digitization of services and with the pandemic, total digitization was carried upon so as to not affect the services during a pandemic. Getting an example of the Philippines, the IP office intensified its education program. The program is mostly titled towards awareness of IP protection and management. IPOPHL focuses on MSMEs because the bulk of business entities are under MSMEs themselves. The program includes multiple webinars and workshops where examples of small enterprises were shown that were successful in protecting and managing their IP asset.
Barba added, “We are encouraging innovators to think more like entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to think more like innovators. In the first semester of the year, IP filings are rebounding, mainly due to the reopening of our economy during the period; the availability of our online filing and payment system and mobile app called IPOPHL Mobiliz; and the dedicated work we have been doing at IPOPHL to encourage people to protect their IP assets and use them as tools for their recovery and building better. Our improving filings also signify that IP protection is becoming a means for enterprises and innovators to overcome uncertainties in the future. Moreover, we have been seeing great interest in IP. Our webinars are enjoying a great number of participants, far more than what we could achieve in a physical setting due to limited room space. Past financial crises have paved the way for a reconstruction period that favors the agile, innovative, and competitive. From history and psychology, we know difficult times could penetrate previously unreached corners of our minds and senses.”
With this one can note that innovation has been fostered with an increased IP filing which must be a government’s strong recovery plan. One can easily deduce the strong role that IP offices play when it comes to fostering a business environment in a pandemic hit economy. Effective awareness to those enterprises that do not have a stronghold in IP management must be initiated for the overall betterment of the economy, as these can be a driving force in the post-pandemic recovery.