The law which was enacted by president Arroyo last March 23 clarifies intellectual property (IP) procedures that used to weigh down the commercialization of technologies in the country. It also defines the framework and support system for the ownership, management, use, and commercialization of IP derived from government-funded research and development (R&D), a long-time clamor of scientists who feared their discoveries will be pried away from their hands by unscrupulous market players.
Intellectual property (IP), as defined by the new law, refers to the “tangible assets resulting from the creative work of an individual or an organization,” including creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.
The new law essentially spells out guiding principles on several issues that used to hamper the commercialization of technology, such as ownership, sharing, and use of revenue, among others.
“The law facilitates and systematizes the transfer of technology or knowledge from the laboratory to market,” says Dr. Albert Aquino, head of the Tech-Transfer Technical Working Committee of the Department of Science and Technology.
Previously, research outputs take a long time before reaching the public as a tangible product because of policy gaps. For example, ownership of a research output then, was a big issue between researchers involved, research institution where the research was done, funding agency, and all other bodies that supported the research in various ways.
The absence of standard procedures compelled concerned individuals and institutions to enter an agreement that spelled out percentage of ownership of everyone involved, as well as royalty fees.
Just like the preparation of any other legal documents, finalizing of agreements was quite complicated and took much time and effort. Such condition slowed down the transfer of knowledge or developed technologies to technology adaptors or venture capitalists and, subsequently, to end users.
RA 10055 puts an end to ownership questions by investing the IP ownership to the research and developments institution (RDI) that performed the research. According to the Act, RDIs are in a better position to identify the potential for economic use of IPs and IP rights as they have the “right skills and management capability.” The Act, however, exempts RDIs with previously written agreements on the sharing, limiting, waiving, and assigning of IP and IP rights ownership.
Likewise, the Act defines the rights and responsibilities of government funding agencies and RDIs, management of IPs, revenue sharing, commercialization and establishment of spin-off firms, use and compulsory licensing of technologies, use of income, establishment of mechanisms, and others.