A proposed bill that seeks to roll out mature and potentially important technologies generated by government-funded researches to the market was finally enacted into law recently after almost three years into legislation.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 10055, otherwise known as “An Act Providing the Framework and Support System for the Ownership, Management, Use, and Commercialization of Intellectual Property Generated from Research and Development Funded by Government and for Other Purposes” or the “Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009” into a full fledged national statute on March 23 at the Malacañan Palace. The new law is expected to serve as the blueprint for a nationally coordinated technology transfer framework of government-funded researches.
Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro said that the whole science community is overwhelmed with this development.
“We are optimistic that this new law, a landmark policy on technology transfer will revolutionize the commercialization of technologies generated by researches funded by taxpayer’s money,” Sec. Alabastro said.
The enactment came after Congress approved in December 2009 the Senate version, Senate Bill 3416, authored by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara and co-authored by Senators Manuel Roxas II and Loren Legarda. Senators Pia Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Aquilino Pimentel, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Miguel Zubiri also served as co-sponsors.
At the House of Representatives, Cavite 1st District Rep. Joseph Emilio A. Abaya was at the forefront of the Bill’s passage and served as its principal author. Angara and Abaya chair the Committees on Science and Technology at the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.
Speaking at PCARRD (Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development) recently, Sec. Alabastro expressed optimism of the law’s merit in uptaking technologies to the market as well as preventing brain drain and out migration of S&T professionals, and encouraging students to pursue R&D studies.
A key provision in the law provides for incentives to researchers by according them share in the royalties as well as allowing them put up their own start up companies.
The law was Sec. Alabastro’s brainchild, having recognized the need for a national backbone and framework that would push technology generation and application to its maximum potential through efficient and coordinated transfer capability and intellectual property assertions around the country, similar to the Bayh-Dole Act in the US.
The S&T czar also lauded President Arroyo and Congress for taking into account such a much-needed legislation for the science and technology sector.
Alabastro explained that taking advantage of the new law would hasten the process of technology commercialization and broadens the scope of protection of intellectual property rights in government RDIs.
“For the longest time, we rely mostly on breakthroughs from outside, while our local technologies generated through public funds remain untapped or archived in laboratories around the country. Hence, this is a significant break for us to roll this out to the market and be availed by the public,” she added.
Once fully in place, the new law is expected to provide the mechanism to allow important technologies to be commercialized and be made available to the public.
Dr. Patricio S. Faylon, PCARRD Executive Director, meanwhile expressed elation with this development. He described this as a leap for the inter-agency policy advocacy collaboration and a feat in the Council’s policy development and advocacy mandate relating to S&T development.
PCARRD, the central planning council of DOST in the agriculture, forestry and natural resources has led the Department’s efforts in the Bill’s legislative advocacy and public awareness activities since 2006.
Meanwhile, the technical and financial support given by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Philippines, DOST Planning and Evaluation Service, and DOST councils and institutes were instrumental in the legislative advocacy of the law. Currently, DOST and IPO are preparing the basis for the Act’s implementing rules and regulation (IRR).