IP situation at the COVID-19 affected Philippines

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) remains to have a 400-strong workforce despite the relentless COVID-19 enveloping the nation since late January this year.


3-month old IPOPHL Director-General Rowel Barba discussed the challenges arising from the ‘work from home’ (WFH) set-up during an exclusive webinar entitled, “Managing Intellectual Property During the COVID-19 Pandemic”, last 29 April 2020 organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).


The availability of equipment and the quality of internet connection seems to be the two most difficult challenges brought by WFH. Employees lack proper tools such as laptops or desktop computers as well as the inexistence of appropriate work stations at home. Weak or slow internet connection also serves as another hindrance to the efficiency of employees who are now burdened by the higher electricity bills they have to pay.


A psychological battle is yet another obstacle employees have to face while working from home as they grow distraught and anxious by the day with having no clue whatsoever as to how the world will work post-COVID-19. Likewise, the distinction between work and personal life has also transmuted into undistinguishable concepts as some employees now tend to work longer hours than they usually do compared at the office; not to mention, work life now seems to extend even on the weekends. Such practices, however, may terribly affect one’s health in the long run.


In spite of this, the IPOPHL is still able to carry out their basic functions while working safely from their homes through their various e-services such as the eInventionFile, eUMfile, eIDfile, eTMfile,  and eDocfile - all of which can be found in the their website (ipophil.gov.ph).


Atty. Edmund Baranda (External Expert, Southeast Asia IPR SME Helpdesk) also discussed three post-COVID-19 IP trends: online market preference, increased demand for medical/health devices and pharmaceutical products, and challenges for non-COVID-19 essentials. 


The utilization of online shopping platforms and digital cash transactions have spiked in light of the pandemic that has compelled IP owners to intensify their online marketing efforts and online enforcement by removing ads, links, and websites for counterfeit products.  There is a backlog of complaints filed against sellers of counterfeit PPEs, face masks, and N95 respirators as reported by the IPOPHL.


Finally, non-COVID-19 essential brands are currently being challenged as a bulk of consumers reduce their expenses. However, food, household, hygiene, and cosmetic products are likely to recover or even sustain their current markets as long as they monitor infringers that attract buyers with lower price offers. --- Philexport News and Features



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