By Andrea E. San Juan, October 3, 2022; Business Mirror

THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has described as “most alarming” the Philippines’s slide of eight notches in the 2022 Global Innovation Index (GII).

“We regret to see the decline of the Philippines in the 2022 Global Innovation Index [GII]. Our slide of eight rungs is most alarming. This calls for the urgent task of accelerating work at the National Innovation Council [NIC] to sustain innovation over time,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the GII 2022 report prepared by the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the country scored 30.7, or a decline from last year’s 35.3. The Philippines slipped eight notches to 59th rank from last year’s 51st out of 132 economies in the latest GII report.

The world’s top innovators are Switzerland, Sweden, United States and United Kingdom. South Korea is the top innovator among Asian countries, ranking 6th in the GII.

Meanwhile, the Philippines ranked 5th among 36 lower-middle income group economies.

This year’s GII report stressed that while the global innovation landscape is changing—both within the top 25 leading innovation economies, as well as more generally within the overall rankings and the league tables by income group or region, that of the Philippines alongside Vietnam “has halted momentarily.”

Despite this, the report noted that the Philippines along with Vietnam and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the middle-income economies with the “fastest innovation catch-up to-date, although Vietnam and the Philippines fell back slightly, underlining the importance of sustaining innovation effort over time.”

Moreover, the report said Vietnam and the Philippines have an “increasingly important potential for transforming the global innovation landscape.”

Over the past decade, the GII report noted that within the South East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania region as a whole, the Philippines is among the countries that have made the “greatest advances,” moving up more than 20 ranks.

“These economies continue to lead in key innovation indicators, too. Vietnam ranks 1st worldwide in High-tech imports, the Philippines is 2nd in High-tech exports, and Indonesia holds 2nd position worldwide in Entrepreneurship policies and culture,” the report stated.

Factors in decline

According to the IPOPHL chief, though, the drop in the Philippines’s rank in the global innovation index may be attributed to double-digit decreases in the Education & Tertiary Education sub-indicators under Human Capital & Research, Knowledge Creation & Knowledge Impact sub-indicators under Knowledge & Technology Outputs, and Creative Goods and Services sub-indicator under Creative Outputs.

Barba added that for sub-indicators related to intellectual property (IP), “the top laggards were Industrial Designs [ID], where we fell 10 spots in ranking, followed by Cultural and Creative Services Exports (-9); Utility Models [UM] [-7]; Patent Families [-7]; University-Industry R&D Collaboration [-3]; and Trademarks [-3].”

The IPOPHL head noted that the decline in ID, UM and Trademarks may be “due to the fact that the report based its data on 2020 when IPOPHL saw a decline in application across all types of IP due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Barba said these drops “cumulatively” represented the biggest decline in filing activities throughout IPOPHL’s 25 years in office.

“We have come a long way in capacitating our 77 ITSOs in using patent databases for filling in today’s technology gaps, as well as bringing ITSOs’ inventions and innovations closer toward industry development and commercialization,” Barba said.

Meanwhile, Barba said the IPOPHL sees a “bright spot” in IP-related driving indicators such as National Feature Films which rose by 29 spots, Printing and Other Media which climbed up by 17 notches, Mobile App Creation which rose by 5 spots; Patents jumping by 4 spots, and PCT families which rose by 4 spots as well.