Intellectual Property (IP) Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Director General Rowel S. Barba, as chair of the ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation (AWGIPC), addressed the 63rd Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to call for greater support for ASEAN to optimize the benefits of IP in building an integrated digital economy.
“The AWGIPC underscores the importance of strengthening the ASEAN IP systems through digital transformation and is working closely with all stakeholders to accelerate these changes in response to the call at the 53rd ASEAN Economic Minister Meeting in 2021,” IPOPHL Director General and AWGIPC Chair Rowel S. Barba said.
Barba noted that several ASEAN sectoral bodies have included IP in their initiatives and mid-term strategy frameworks, particularly in the area of the digital economy, the fourth industrial revolution and even economic recovery.
These strategy documents are the ASEAN Digital Integration Index (ADII); ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan (DIFAP); ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce; Consolidated Strategy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); ASEAN Innovation Roadmap; and ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.
“IP provisions under these strategic plans indicate the wide recognition of IP’s importance in fostering a culture of innovation and creativity in the digital space,” Barba said.
“In tandem with these regional digitalisation efforts, the AWGIPC will drive efforts to further enhance the ASEAN IP Portal in support of the ASEAN cross-pillar digital initiatives,” Barba added.
The AWGIPC said ASEAN member states are also looking at updating the 1995 ASEAN Framework Agreement for Intellectual Property Cooperation (AFAIPC) to a “modern, up-to-date, forward-looking agreement, relevant to business and more responsive to regional and global developments.”
In his speech, Barba also thanked WIPO for its efforts to support the AWGIPC.
For one, WIPO developed a WIPO-ASEAN Regional Technical Cooperation Implementation and Monitoring Plan for IP (RTCIP) 2019-2025. The RTCIP covers 37 deliverables under the ASEAN’s IP Rights Action Plan 2016-2025, serving as a good monitoring framework of WIPO’s programs with regard to ASEAN priorities.
“We look forward to greater collaboration with WIPO and its member states… through WIPO’s support and interventions, we will be able to achieve the objective of accelerating the completion of deliverables under the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025 with 75% of the deliverables accomplished by the end of my term in March 2023,” Barba noted.
Barba also expressed gratitude for the WIPO Division for Asia and the Pacific and Singapore Office (WSO).
“WSO has continuously supported the ASEAN region through its capacity building activities for ASEAN IP offices, its online IP courses made available to ASEAN enterprises, and engagement with IP practitioners, as well as dialogue partners that provide technical assistance on IP in the region. We look forward to further enhancing our engagements with them in the coming years,” he said.