LAWMAKER  WANTS  SCIENTISTS  TO  GET  RICH  OFF  INVENTIONS

MANILA, JUNE 2, 2008
(STAR) By Helen Flores - A lawmaker is pushing for the passage of a technology transfer bill that seeks to allow local scientists to profit from their inventions.

Cavite Rep. Jose Emilio Abaya said House Bill 3270 or the Technology Transfer Act aims “to encourage innovation, promote greater awareness of homegrown scientific and technical knowledge and enhance economic competitiveness.”

“With a technology transfer law, government scientists will be entitled to receive revenue shares of up to 40 percent, while ownership of intellectual properties such as patents, industrial designs and copyrights will be vested to research development institutes that generated the technology,” he said in a statement.

“Moreover, government scientists and researchers shall be allowed to take a leave of absence to set up and manage ‘spin-off’ companies to market their own inventions,” Abaya added.

Abaya, who chairs the House of Representatives committee on science and technology, said granting research and development institutions the rights to intellectual property generated with public funds “can lead to better use of research results that might otherwise remain unused.”

For research and development institutions, the benefits include increased licensing and royalty revenues, more contract research and greater partnership between private industry and “business-minded” scientists and researchers.

The bill “shall protect and secure the exclusive rights of scientists, inventors and other gifted citizens to their intellectual property, particularly when beneficial to the people,” Abaya said.

He said the “weakest link” in the country’s innovation system is the process of transferring and commercializing research and development outputs, particularly those undertaken by government-funded research institutions.

“Legislation on technology transfer will help facilitate the establishment of a knowledge-based economy that would lead to a culture of science in the country,” Abaya said.

He also said such legislation could push the Philippines to catch up with its neighbors.

“Penetration to industry of new technologies and scientific innovations can be achieved when the responsibilities and accountabilities of entities concerned are clearly defined by law,” Abaya said.

The 2007-2008 Global Competitiveness Report ranked the Philippines 69th among 125 countries which are able to adopt technologies to enhance the productivity of its industries. The country is far behind Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which placed second, 30th and 42nd, respectively.

The Philippines also ranked low (79th) among countries able to produce brand-new technologies while Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand ranked 11th, 21st and 36th, respectively.

Filipino scientists and the Department of Science and Technology will push for the bill, which they said will stop the migration of local scientists to other countries.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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