October 15, 2021

A public-private trademark initiative to assist SMEs in expanding globally has been established

The Juan for the World (JFTW) Program, a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and private-sector-backed initiative that will enable 100 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to protect their trademarks and compete in global markets, was launched by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

At the program’s inauguration, IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba stated, “We want to let them understand the possibilities in global marketplaces and how early trademark protection may help them expand their company with ease.”

IPOPHL reported 399 resident registrations under the international filing system from 2012, when the Philippines acceded to the Madrid Protocol, until 2020. Only 154 (or 39%) of these are small businesses.

“This low percentage is due to a lack of funding and experience in the international trademark application procedure.” “All of these obstacles will be broken down by our newest Juan for the World Program,” Barba added.

IPOPHL hopes to help 100 MSMEs in obtaining successful Madrid Protocol registrations by the end of 2024 via the initiative.

Package of global trademark incentives

IPOPHL will help a JFTW recipient throughout the registration procedure and forgo the PHP2,618 handling cost, according to Bureau of Trademark (BOT) director Jesus Antonio Ros.

Meanwhile, private sector partners will pay at least the baseline cost, which is about PHP49,627 for a colorful mark and PHP35,888 for a black and white mark.

However, MSMEs accepted into the program must be willing to cover additional registration costs such as the supplementary fee (roughly PHP5,496), complementary fee (roughly PHP5,496), individual fee (ranging from PHP13,000 to PHP30,000 depending on country of choice), and/or costs to hire trademark agents, which are usually required by laws for foreign filings in case of objections.

“This scheme offers significant cost reductions to MSMEs that want to protect their marks globally but are burdened by the total Madrid Protocol registration costs.” Local MSME brands are being replicated in other countries, and they are feeling defeated. We can safeguard Filipino brands in many key markets across the globe with this initiative,” Ros added.

He said that, in addition to international trademark registration, the JFTW Program would offer recipients with financial and technical business support, including marketing and management, via private and public sector partners.

“This makes JFTW the ideal trademark incentive package to encourage the worldwide growth of Philippine MSMEs,” he said.

Partners

On Thursday, IPOPHL signed separate memorandums of agreements (MOAs) with the program’s first partners — its mother agency, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), and the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA).

Through enforcement training and advisory assistance, IPOPHL will help partners in improving their ability to defend and manage their stakeholders’ or members’ IP rights under the MOAs.

In the meanwhile, the DTI has committed to reviewing and endorsing MSMEs that are qualified for the program.

The PFA and any PRA member must fund at least the baseline cost for the Madrid Protocol application.

IPOPHL commits to assisting the DTI and industry partners in promoting the use of IP as “valuable business assets.”

They specifically pledge to promote both the “Juana Make a Mark” and the new “Juan for the World” trademark registration programs to qualified MSMEs.

“MSMEs may also offer more value to their businesses by leveraging their intellectual property.” The company’s innovation and development, in turn, have the potential to create a lot of higher-paying employment,” stated DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Trademarks, according to PRA Chairman Paul Santos, are “a trust stamp” that distinguishes companies that provide high-quality goods and services.

“Trademarks safeguard your brand while simultaneously encouraging creativity, innovation, and healthy competition… “We believe that the JFTW program will encourage more Filipino merchants and companies to register their IPs so that we may continue to innovate and develop our goods, brands, and industries,” Santos added.

“This effort makes (international registration) more cheap and more simpler than what we were doing before,” PFA president Sherill Quintana said.

Quintana said that their firm, Orsypa Spa Solutions, Inc., had spent PHP200,000 for a single mark since companies would have to register on their own in each preferred nation.

The Madrid Protocol is the Madrid Union’s worldwide trademark filing system, which is presently in use by 109 member nations.

It enables a single, low-cost application for trademark registration in any or all of the 125 countries that account for more than 80% of worldwide commerce.

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