Leading the advocacy and excellence of intellectual property (IP) knowledge and technology transfer in Southeast Asia for the benefit of society, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Intellectual Property Office (DIPO) is the University’s go-to office in catering to the innovations of its students and faculties.
Established in 2008, it was among the first IP offices to have ever been inaugurated in a private university. Spearheaded by its director, Atty. Christopher Cruz, the DIPO conducts seminars and training for students and members of the Lasallian community, while safeguarding the IP records held by DLSU.
A joint effort
Along with the DIPO, the DLSU Innovation and Technology Office (DITO) and the Animo Labs Technology Business Incubator work hand in hand in transforming the ideas of students and faculties into products and services that intend to solve real-world problems, generating value for the University and fostering economic growth in the Philippines.
Making sure their technical experts and officers are properly equipped and capable of handling the IP of their clients, the DIPO enrolls its workforce in training seminars, workshops, and online courses conducted inside and outside the University. “Our [DIPO and DITO] teams [are] composed of faculty who come from the different departments or colleges so that we will understand the needs of all the colleges of the University,” Cruz explains.
DITO Project Director Peter Tenido, on the other hand, states that his office upholds its duties to the Lasallian community in fully supporting and maintaining their IPs. From drafting patents to coordinating with the proper offices, Tenido ensures that their clients are guided through the process, allowing them to understand how it works and letting them experience working with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL).
Since its inception in 2012, the DITO office has filed a total of at least 20 patent applications, while also making sure that they meet their target of five applications annually.
Through the years
The DIPO and DITO departments are both overseen by Cruz, who serves as the offices’ director and manager, respectively. DIPO handles IP management, seminars, and trainings, while DITO focuses on technology transfer and patent applications. On the achievement of the organization throughout the years, Aubrey Reyes, the Intellectual Property Officer of DIPO, emphasizes that Cruz has been instrumental in pushing for DLSU’s intellectual property initiatives.
As one of the faculty advisers of the Intellectual Property Advocates (IPA), Reyes ensures that the DIPO is “as approachable as it can be” to all stakeholders. “We make sure that we are organization-friendly. We reach out to students, we reach out to faculty advisers, [and] we reach out to professors,” she adds.
Explaining their workflow, Reyes narrates that she makes it a point to “talk to the presidents or to the executive board of each [organization] in different colleges.” Further elaborating on the office’s approachability, she explains, “I talk to them one by one, telling them what the services of our office [are], what the importance of IP [is], and what we can do; [essentially,] what our office [can] do to help them.”
“So our key advocacy in the DITO is education,” emphasizes Tenido. Stressing on the particular goals of the office, he clarifies that “that is why we are very serious about education. We want to build that awareness—‘Why is there a patent system?’, ‘Why is there an IP system?’, ‘What are the benefits of using it?’—especially if you are an academic, or a student, or a teacher.”
Reyes adds that when students come up with an idea that creates a social impact on society, she is assured that she has done her job properly, stressing that the people she advises “[not] just benefit [themselves] but also benefits the general welfare.”
Cruz, meanwhile, mentions that “[DIPO’s] role in the University is quite unique, because we touch base with the academe and the industry.” Collaborating with the IPOPHIL and the DLSU student organization, IPA, DIPO tries to bridge the gap between the Lasallian community and the corporate world in order to ease transition for its clients.
On future plans
Among its plans for the following years, the office aims to increase the key result index (KRI) of its patent applications, as well as collaborate with more groups in raising IPO awareness. Reyes states that the office plans on collaborating with the colleges, offices, and even student organizations, adding that their office is “one of the most competitive IP offices within Manila, within Luzon.”
The office also does not want to limit its services to the scope of the University. Among the office’s other plans, Cruz highlights its goal to branch out “not only to provide services to our own, but more importantly to those who cannot afford [it]; to those who have no resources; to the marginalized; to the poor.” However, Cruz admits that they are presently not yet at that stage of expansion.
Nonetheless, Cruz maintains the importance of opening up their services to students, faculty, and even outside inventors, citing, “Our franchise manual, which came from [IPOPHIL], encourages us to open the doors not only to La Salle, but [also] to the outside, especially to those who cannot afford it. And I think that that is very Lasallian.”