April 2014 Issue (Vol. 15 No. 4)

Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino

The Central Luzon State University (CLSU) received its first-ever Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), in the form of a Utility Model Certificate of Registration for the research titled, “Production of Schizophyllum commune mycelia and schizophyllan”.

As part of its advocacies to protect the various R&D projects that it supported, BAR established its IPR Office in 2004 to ensure that researches, technologies, and other works generated within the Department of Agriculture and National Research and Development System for Agriculture and Fisheries (NaRDSAF) system are given proper IP protection.

Not limiting its function to BAR-funded or commissioned researches or projects, the bureau extended its services to other R&D institutions in the country. This included the conduct of IP awareness training workshops to regional field units, state universities and colleges, and local government units.

Realizing the importance of IP in his research work, Dr. Renato Reyes, professor at CLSU, through the assistance of BAR IPR Office, applied his research on mushroom cultivation. The application served as an offshoot of an IP awareness training conducted at CLSU.

In response, BAR immediately studied the submitted report. Dr. Andrea B. Agillon, a Patent Agent Qualifying Exam (PASE) passer, drafted the patent application and assisted CLSU and the inventor with the necessary requirements needed and provided technical assistance.

“The application went through the usual prosecution process for patents. Revisions were made to comply with the examiner’s findings that coconut water is not a novel media anymore for mushroom cultivation. Production of Schizophyllan is not a novelty. Its use for other mushroom species culture negates the inventive step and the findings are fatal for a patent application,” Dr. Agillon shared.

BAR and CLSU exhausted their efforts for the IPR to be approved and registered. After changes in claims and manner of stating them were made, substantive examination however, did not merit an award for a patent.

The team then decided to apply for conversion of the application to a utility model (UM). “With only one year left for the seven-year life of a UM, we continued our task as we deemed it necessary for conversion as the inventor is a professor, and the application is the first IPR for the university,” Dr. Agillon reiterated.

With sheer determination and perseverance at the end of the inventor-researcher, the university and the IP managers, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhil) awarded the UM Certificate of Registration. “We are so thankful and glad for the outcome,” Dr. Reyes said.

IPR serves as an important mechanism that provides the scientists and researchers means of controlling and protecting their works, hence, providing ways on how to be properly acknowledged, rewarded, utilized and optimized. ###