MSMEs urged to protect IP for market growth

SunStar Local News
SunStar Local News

MICRO, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are encouraged anew to protect their intellectual property (IP) assets to build a loyal customer base as they enhance the market value of their business.

In a workshop organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Director General Rowel Barba said a trademark protects a business’ brand, as well as is a tool to boost innovation and competitiveness.

“With this protection provided by trademarks, your brand enables you to capture consumers’ attention and help them to distinguish your products and services in the marketplace. They also (signify) to consumers that they can rely on a consistent level of quality from your brand, which can help you in establishing a loyal customer base,” he said.

Barba said aside from raising the valuation of their companies, trademarks also provide legal protection for brands from being copied or stolen by others.

“In the ongoing digital revolution, the value of brands cannot be understated. They are highly priced today as an intangible asset together with other assets like R&D (research and development), IP, software and databases, among others. These intangible assets presently serve as the cornerstone of the global innovation ecosystem,” he said.

Barba cited a World Intellectual Property Organization report indicating that firms worldwide hold intangible assets amounting to US$61.9 trillion in 2023, up eight percent since 2022 and rising 10 times from US$6 trillion in 1996.

Given the critical role that trademarks play in protecting brands, IPOPHL has a number of programs that can help businesses safeguard important IP assets.

Barba said the Juan for the World program aims to assist MSMEs in registering the trademark under the Madrid Protocol, which is the international filing system for trademarks.

“Our Juana Make a Mark Program supports eligible women entrepreneurs and women-led micro, small and medium enterprises and startups in having their trademarks registered at a reduced cost,” he added.

For exporters, Barba said IPOPHL is collaborating with the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau to provide more support to them in protecting their trademarks in the international market.

In the same workshop, PCCI Intellectual Property Committee chairman Anthony Bengzon said registered trademarks are business assets, which put businesses in the “best position” to prevent others from using similar or identical trademarks.

“It is the best defense against what we call unfair competition—yung ginagaya ka, unfair yun (when you are copied, that’s unfair). And a trademark guarantees, it’s like a guarantee of the quality of your goods or services,” Bengzon said.

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