There is a significant similarity in registering both utility model patents and industrial design patents in the Philippines. Most of the steps involved are the same except for slight differences in the manner of drafting some documentary requirements.

The procedure for the registration of both utility model patents and industrial design patents in the Philippines is as follows:

Step 1. Preparation of the documentary requirements. Title, Abstract, Specification and its corresponding drawings and the application form must be prepared prior to registration. There are strict formal requirements in drafting these documents most especially the Specification and the drawings. Failure to comply with said requirements usually lead to either denial or amendment of the application. Denial or amendment in turn delays the registration process and also leaves the invention unprotected from copycats.

Step 2. Filing of the application form and other documentary requirements. This process is done at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The applicant is required to pay the filing fees at the cashier.

Step 3. Approval of the Examiner. After the filing of the application, such will be raffled to an examiner who will then be tasked to do the following: 1) search for prior art or simply stated existing inventions that are the same or similar in terms of the inventive step; and 2) assess and examine all the documents submitted. Once he approves the application, he will then forward his recommendation to the Office of the Director. If he denies it, he will send an examination report to the applicant informing him of either the amendments that need to be made or the reasons for the denial. Upon receipt of an examination report, an applicant is given two (2) months to respond to it. Failure to respond to the report results in abandonment of the application.

Step 4. Approval of the Director. The Director will assess the recommendation of the examiner and decide on its approval or denial.

Step 5. Publication. Upon approval of the Director, the utility model/industrial design application will then be published for two (2) months at the IPO Gazette. Within this period, all claims/adverse information against the application must be filed.  Oppositions of third parties must be filed before the expiration of the two-month publication period; otherwise, it will be barred.

Step 6. Release of the Certificate of Registration. Upon expiration of the publication period without any claim/adverse information filed, the certificate will then be released. At this juncture, the application is deemed registered from the date of filing, meaning the invention is protected from the beginning. Those who imitate the product or process from the date of filing the application may already be held liable for patent infringement.

Registration of utility models and industrial designs in the Philippines seem easy upon looking at the foregoing step-by-step procedure. Nonetheless, like any other registration process, unexpected twists may arise. Therefore, it is more prudent for an applicant to seek legal representation in these highly technical matters. For those who decide to heed this advice, please do not hesitate to call (+632) 310-1020/ (+632) 823-1090.