Patent laws in the region vary in their effectiveness. Regulations across jurisdictions to crack down on infringers are in a constant state of renewal and revision in order to stay ahead of those who steal intellectual property. Keeping the trolls at bay depends on staying abreast of regional developments in patent law

Regional comparison of patent law (Click to enlarge image)


China | India | Japan | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Taiwan | The Philippines


Philippine patent laws have steadily evolved to provide better protection to patent rights holders and improve the patent prosecution and patent enforcement systems.

Bienvenido I Somera JrSenior partnerThe Firm Villaraza & AngangcoTel: +632 988 6088Email:
Bienvenido I Somera Jr
Senior partner
The Firm Villaraza & Angangco
Tel: +632 988 6088

Patent prosecution system for inventions, utility models and industrial designs. Philippine law provides patent protection for 20 years from date of filing for “any technical solution to a problem … which is new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable”. Exclusions from patent protection brought about by the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 are: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; new forms or new property of a known substance without concomitant enhancement of the known efficacy, new property or new use for a known substance, or use of a known process unless a new product results and at least one new reactant is utilized.

Under the Cheaper Medicines Act, clarification was provided that “salts, esters, ethers, polymorphs, metabolites, pure form, particle size, isomers, mixtures of isomers, complexes, combinations and other derivatives of a known substance must be considered to be the same substance unless they differ significantly in properties with regard to efficacy”. Schemes, rules and methods of performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers, methods of treatment by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practised on the human and animal body, and plant varieties or animal breeds or essentially biological processes for production of plants or animals are excluded from patent protection, based on the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Patent applications undergo substantive examination and a request should be filed with payment of the required fees within six months from the date of publication.

Ma Sophia Editha C Cruz-AbrenicaJunior partnerThe Firm Villaraza & AngangcoTel: +632 988 6088Email:
Ma Sophia Editha C Cruz-Abrenica
Junior partner
The Firm Villaraza & Angangco
Tel: +632 988 6088

An invention may qualify for utility model registration if it is new and industrially applicable. Inventive step is not a condition for protection. The term of protection of a utility model is seven years from date of filing, which is non-renewable. It is possible to convert a utility model application into a patent application and vice versa, any time before a patent is granted or refused. The filing date of the converted application must be considered as the date of the initial application, and conversion may only be done once. Simultaneous or consecutive filing of applications for utility model and patent is prohibited.

Industrial design is defined as “any composition of lines or colours, or any three-dimensional form, whether or not associated with lines or colours … such composition or form gives a special appearance to and can serve as a pattern for an industrial product or handicraft”. Novelty is a requirement for industrial designs, and designs “dictated essentially by technical or functional considerations to obtain a technical result”, or those contrary to public order, health or morals must not be protected. An industrial design registration must have a five-year term of protection, renewable for not more than two consecutive five-year periods.

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