Manila, Philippines – During a webinar held by the ASEAN-Japan Centre on the Intellectual Property Chapter of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement held last 12 April 2022, DTI Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty highlighted the importance of intellectual property provisions in free trade agreements in promoting an environment that would facilitate innovation and competitiveness. The webinar was attended by representatives from Japan, ASEAN businesses and other stakeholders.

The RCEP agreement’s intellectual property chapter is one of the most extensive chapters in the landmark free trade agreement. It provides standards of protection and treatment of several types of intellectual property rights. Asec. Gepty gave an overview of the agreement and its salient features, as well as the benefits of RCEP’s intellectual property chapter to businesses.

He explained that the chapter on intellectual property in RCEP would help create a business environment conducive for competition and innovation in the region. Furthermore, he stressed the value of intellectual property as a policy tool that can be used to encourage inventiveness and creativity while striking a balance to the rights of IP owners vis-a-vis the general welfare and interest of the public.

On the aspect of business, Asec. Gepty cited some of the benefits of a robust IP regime in the RCEP region, such as streamlined procedures for IP applications, a level playing field in IP protection and enforcement, and a standard protection of the interests of inventors, authors and performers, particularly on digital platforms.

“In the era of globalization and fast paced advancement of technology, we have to know, if not master, the utilization of our intellectual capabilities. The IP System is a great equalizer that can facilitate the generation of values from our creativity, inventiveness, and innovativeness. Let us therefore promote, protect, and respect intellectual property,” Asec. Gepty stated.

Every April, the Philippines through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) celebrates the National Intellectual Property (IP) Month. For 2022, the IP Month is focused on the digital economy.

Mr. Tetsuya Watanabe, Vice President of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) also gave a presentation on the importance of RCEP for regional economic integration. He noted the relevance of the RCEP region to the global economy amid a changing geopolitical environment. He also highlighted the opportunity presented by the RCEP agreement for businesses to innovate and leapfrog the competition, especially with the rise of information technology platforms across the region.

The RCEP agreement signed by 15 Signatory States on 15 November 2020 entered into force for most RCEP Signatory States. The Department is hopeful that the Agreement’s ratification will be concurred by the Senate when it resumes its session on May 2022. ♦

Date of Release: 19 April 2022