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IPAP: Thirty Years of Growth

The Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP) was founded on March 31, 1977, at a time when very little attention was paid to Intellectual Property Law. From the beginning, when it was first namedt he Patent Attorneys Association of the Philippines, Inc., the raison d’etre of IPAP was to professionalize the steadily growing practice of intellectual property law in the Philippines.

A generation has seen the growth of IPAP from a group of ten law practitioners to an association composed of more than 100 leading law firms and individual practitioners. Today, it seeks to promote and protect intellectual property rights in a world led by knowledge-based economies.

As the leading organization of Intellectual Property Law practitioners in the Philippines, IPAP has remained committed to every aspect of the protection of intellectual property,from the prosecution of the registration of rights to their enforcement. IPAP has assisted in the drafting of legislation and implementing rules relating to the many facets of Intellectual Property Law for the Congress of the Philippines, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines,Optical Media Board, and other government agencies. It attends and participates in Congressional and committee hearings concerning intellectual property legislations, including attendance in public hearings conducted by Congressional committees on amendments to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Through its Committee on Legislation, IPAP monitors pending bills relating to intellectual property rights to ensure the relevance and effectiveness of proposed legislation. It plays a consultative role to the different government agencies concerned with the promotion and protection of intellectual property rights, particularly the Intellectual Property Office, the primary agency tasked with the protection of these rights.

IPAP has been in the forefront of professionalizing the practice of Intellectual Property Law among its members,to keep it at par with international practice, and to serve as the standard for practice in the Philippines. It continues to conduct seminars, round table discussions and lectures on current issues affecting intellectual property rights not only for its members but for other legal practitioners and the general public as well. In recognition of the expertise of its members, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has accredited IPAP as a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) provider.

In 2004, IPAP, through its Scholarship Foundation, began awarding scholarship grants to deserving law students from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and San Beda College, the first such grant that focuses legal research on Intellectual Property Law. It intends to widen the scope of this scholarship program by offering similar grants in other law schools in Metro Manila.

IPAP is the sole Philippine National Group recognized by the Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA), the ASEAN Intellectual Property Association (ASEAN-IPA), and the Association Internationale pour la Protection dela Propriete Industrielle (AIPPI). IPAP membership in good standing is thus apre-condition to membership in these international organizations. It is likewise affiliated with the Federation International des Conseils en Propriete Industrielle (FICPI), as well as the Inter-Pacific Bar Association. Moreover, its members not only represent IPAP in these organizations but also occupy key positions in their governing bodies. It is IPAP’s pride that founding member Atty.Alonzo Ancheta is the current President of APAA, the first Filipino to hold this position. Another founding member is Atty. Aniceto G. Saludo, Jr. who later became a Congressman and introduced bills for the protection of intellectual property rights. Atty Saludo was the first Filipino Vice-President of APAA.

As an internationally recognized organization, IPAP has hosted several international conferences, taking the Philippines to the forefront of intellectual property rights protection, and bringing foreign experts to share their knowledge with their Philippine counterparts. It is set to repeat the hosting duties it performed for the APAA General Assembly Meetings for 1990 and 2000 for the forthcoming ASEAN-IPA General Meeting in February 2008.