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ITSO General Assembly 2019

Demystifying “a highly technical” subject like intellectual Property (IP) has been a challenge many a great mind has wrestled with and strived to conquer. Who would have thought that a program, relatively young at nine years old, would result in remarkable progress in mainstreaming this “highly technical” subject that is IP? 

The project was first conceptualized by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) in 2010, envisioned as a network of local institutions that can guide budding innovators throughout their IP journey. This project concretized with the establishment of Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSOs), today expansive with 94 members. 

These ITSOs are universities or higher educational institutions that committed to house patent libraries and assist innovators from patent search and drafting services to the prosecution of patent applications. The Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila (LPU) is one of the first batches who were publicly launched in 2012. Being front liners to IP stakeholders, ITSOs continuously go through capacity training and workshops to elevate the quality of their services.

ITSOs have proven to be highly effective in accelerating society's use of the IP system, as shown from the rise of IP filings in recent years. In 2018, IP filings from ITSOS jumped to 1,425, marking nearly a ten-fold surge from only 154 in 2014. Also in 2018, filings from ITSOs accounted for a huge share in resident applications across patent inventions (41%) and utility models (45%).

For the betterment of the innovation landscape, the IPOPHL and its ITSO partners regularly look back at the gains that the IP system has redounded from their strengthened ties. For 2019, the ITSO General Assembly (GA) was hosted by the Our Lady of Fatima University-Pampanga, one of IPOPHL's ITSO partners on September 5-6, 2019.

The annual GA aims to update the ITSO universities of the current developments and status of the ITSO project. It is a culmination of a series of focus group discussions held for an entire year. At the GA, the IPOPHL, ITSO heads, and other stakeholders discussed plans and programs to move the ITSO member-institutions as catalysts in fostering innovation as well as share best practices in operating ITSOs, promoting research activities, ensuring the quality of research and confer about issues and concerns related to IP. The Global Innovation Index of the Philippines was presented, alongside the impact the ITSOs play in improving our ranking. The Philippines rose from rank 78th to 54th and one of the reasons of the jump is the increased number of patent filings by the ITSOs.

LPU representatives were Dr. Victorina Zosa, ITSO Manager, Dr. Samuel Chua, ITSO Technical Expert and Ms. Joanna Juvyjoy Rojo, ITSO Administrative Assistant.