What can be protected as utility model under Philippine law?

Any technical solution of a problem in any field of human activity that is new and is industrially applicable may be protected as a utility model. It may be, or may relate to, a product, process or any improvement thereof.

What can be protected as industrial design under Philippine law?

An industrial design is any composition of lines or colors or any three dimensional form, whether or not associated with lines or colors, provided that such composition or form gives a special appearance to or can serve as a pattern for an industrial product or handicraft.

Industrial designs dictated essentially by technical or functional considerations to obtain a technical result or those that are contrary to public order, health or morals are not protected.

Can a design of just a part of an article of manufacture be protected, for example, the handle of a spoon or head of a golf club?

Yes.

How does an applicant obtain a filing date for an application for utility model or industrial design registration?

To obtain a filing date, an applicant must submit the following:

  • Request for patent;
  • Description, drawings (if any), one or more claims, an abstract (for Utility Model)
  • Description, drawings of different views, claim (for Industrial Design)

If the priority of an earlier filed application is claimed, the details of the claim, i.e., filing date, file number and country of origin must be submitted.

Which drawings are required in an application for industrial design registration?

All views (perspective, front, rear, right side, left side, top and bottom views) are required for design application. However, in cases where the opposite views are mirror images, only one of these views may be submitted, provided, that the applicant state in the specification that it is the case. Sectional views are optional.

Can an application for invention patent be converted to an application for utility model registration or vice versa?

Yes. At any time before the grant or refusal of an invention patent and upon payment of the prescribed fee, the invention application may be converted into an application for utility model registration, which shall be accorded the filing date of the initial application. Likewise, a patent applicant may, at any time before the grant or refusal of a utility model registration and upon payment of the prescribed fee, convert his utility model application into an invention patent application, which shall be accorded the filing date of the initial application. An application may be converted only once.

Can applications for patent and utility model registration be filed at the same time for the same invention?

No. The filing of parallel applications for a patent and utility model registration is prohibited under Section 111 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

Is substantive examination required to determine novelty for purposes of utility model/industrial design registration?

No. Utility model and industrial design applications are not subject to substantive examination.

What is the term of utility model protection in the Philippines?

A utility model is protected for seven (7) years from the date of the filing of the application, without possibility of renewal.

What is the term of industrial design protection in the Philippines?

An industrial design is protected for a period of five (5) years from the filing date of the application and may be renewed for not more than two (2) consecutive periods of five years, by paying the renewal fee.

Can an industrial design be protected by copyright?

Yes. Section 172(h) of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines provides that original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture, whether or not registrable as an industrial design, and other works of applied art are protected by copyright.

Copyright protection is conferred at the moment of creation of the original work.

Can an applicant for a design registration request for deferred publication?

Yes, a designer applying for the registration of industrial design may opt to file a request for deferred publication. The request may be filed simultaneously with the filing of the design application or at any time prior to its publication. The maximum period allowed for deferred publication of an industrial design application shall be thirty (30) months from the filing date or priority date of the application. If the request for deferred publication is made after the filing of the application, the allowable period for the deferred publication shall be the remaining time from the allowed thirty (30) months deferred publication period. The applicant may request for a specific time to publish the application, provided it does not go beyond the allowed deferment period of thirty (30) months.

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