April 20, 2024

Textile industry players and other micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were advised to register and protect their intellectual properties (IPs) to boost market competitiveness.

Lawyer Christine Pangilinan-Canlapan, director III at Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ (IPOPHL) Bureau of Legal Affairs, said they can register their patents, industrial design, copyright, trademark, and geographical indications in the country and abroad if applicable.

Pangilinan-Canlapan said the most applicable IP right in Philippine weaving are patent which may involve the technology or process on how to make the weaves; industrial design which pertains to the aesthetic design of the weaving or fabric or textile; trademark which distinguishes a business from other competitors in the same field; and copyright for designs.

“It (IP protection) increases market competitiveness by making it more challenging for competitors to replicate or imitate your products. And then it also prevents counterfeiting and it provides legal recourse in case of infringement,” she said during the 2024 National Textile Convention.

Pangilinan-Canlapan said IP protection in the textile industry also provides exclusive rights to the local weavers or artisans thus encouraging continued innovation; and builds brand identity and consumer trust.

She said textile industry players can likewise explore the possibility of becoming a signatory to the e-commerce memorandum of understanding to help them protect their brands in the industry, as ecommerce platforms and brand owners band together to fight against rising online counterfeiting and piracy.

“If you have a complaint or you see your product being sold online which is without your authorization and which is an imitation, under the MOU, you can go directly to the ecommerce platform which are also signatories and request them to take down the posting,” Pangilinan-Canlapan said.

“And of course, on your part, if you see any IP rights violation, whether online or physical, you can report it to the proper authorities and you can also take legal actions against counterfeiters if identified and most importantly, register or record your trademarks with the IPOPHL and with the Bureau of Customs,” she added.

She said recording trademarks and other relevant IP with the BoC allows for the interception and seizure of counterfeit goods at borders, preventing them from entering the market.

For other sectors, Pangilinan-Canlapan said the IPOPHL has programs to register and protect their trademarks – the Juana Make a Mark and Juan for the World programs.

“Juana Make a Mark is a program for women entrepreneurs who want to be able to register their products in the Philippines in order to protect their intellectual property rights. And as an incentive, they are given discounts on the filing fees,” she said.

On the other hand, Juan for the World program is aimed for any MSME that wants to avail of registration with the IPOPHL or globally.

“We have the Madrid Protocol where you can register your trademarks anywhere in the world. All you have to do is just file an application with the IPOPHL and then you pick the particular country where you want your brand registered,” she added. – Press release