Samuel Abrenilla, president of the Mindanao Inventors Federation (MIF), said the system in the country leaves little room for inventors to go on mass production of their inventions. Among the problems, he said, is the high cost of patenting their inventions and the long wait for the patent office approve their applications.
He said an inventor needs to wait three years before his product is granted a patent. "What the heck is the patent for if it (product) is already obsolete in six months?"
The group wants government to put up extension offices for the TAPI and the patent office in Davao City which would considerably lessen the cost of application for patent.
An inventor has to spend about P60,000 to apply for a patent in Manila, excluding the transportation and lodging costs if they don't have any relatives where they could temporarily stay while processing their applications.
Republic Act 7459 or the Inventors Incentives Act was signed into law under President Corazon Aquino and directs TAPI, a division of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), to provide assistance to inventors.
"The budget of TAPI is about P50 million but it's not only for inventors' fund but also to promote all technology," he said, adding that TAPI only allocates 12 percent for inventors' assistance.
This paltry funding is partly responsible for the dismal showing of inventors in commercial undertakings. In the global arena, Japan is tops in the most number of inventions patented at 500,000; the Koreans notched 100,000 while the Philippines only patented 200 inventions.
"Our budget for technology is really low, its about .001 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product," he said.
Virgilio Sangutan, MFI chair, cited a flaw in the Philippine system, which follows the European and Japan model instead of the United States, where patent is granted to the person who first filed his application.
He said the system discriminates against the inventors who have no money to pay the necessary processing fee.
"That's why other inventors are afraid to make public their idea," he said. "The solution is to avoid this first-to-file system."
Rep. Isidro Ungab (Davao City, 3rd district) vowed to help the Mindanao inventors particularly their call for an extension office of TAPI and the patent office in Davao City.
He said he will bring this up with the Mindanao bloc in the House of Representatives, numbering nearly 60.
Ungab added that representatives from Mindanao meet every two weeks to discuss any agenda and bills that will benefit Mindanawons. (MindaNews)