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President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed Republic Act 10055 officially tagging the first national technology transfer law at the Malacanan Palace. Otherwise known as Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009, its full title is An Act for Providing the Framework and Support System for the Ownership, Management, Use and Commercialization of Intellectual Property Generated from Research and Development Funded by Government.

DOST-CALABARZON early on enjoined nearly 300 stakeholders in a bid to engender support for the enactment of the Technology Transfer Bill. It forwarded letters and received statements of support to the Bill's enactment by heads of State Universities and Colleges, project adopters, and media practitioners.

For the most part, DOST Secretary Dr. Estrella F. Alabastro, in cooperation with the Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Health, Trade and Industry, Interior and Local Governments, Commission on Higher Education, and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhil), earlier received the support of the Congress and Senate to sponsor the Technology Transfer Bill. The Senate version, Senate Bill 3416, is authored by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara and co-authored by Senators Manuel Roxas II and Loren Legarda. Senators Pia Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Aquilino Pimentel, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Miguel Zubiri served as co-sponsors. The House Bill was authored by Rep. Joseph Emilio A. Abaya as chair of the Committee on Science and Technology and as representative of the first district of Cavite Province.

Now a law, the ratification comes after the 2006-2007 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum which ranked the Philippines in 71st place out of 125 countries in terms of technological readiness or ability to adopt technologies from home or abroad to enhance the productivity of its industries. IPOPhil reported that it received only 43 patent applications from universities and research and development institutions (RDIs) for the years 1995 to 2005, or an average of 4.3 patent applications annually, which could account for the Philippines' poor showing in the Report.

The Act will thus benefit all Filipino research and development institutes whose research is funded in whole or in part by government funds. In case of a corporation, Filipino ownership should at least be 60%. Insofar as government employees of RDIs are concerned, they can establish, manage or be officers of the spin-off companies, and in so doing, they can take leave without pay but with no interruption of their government service or loss of tenure, for a period not exceeding two years, subject to rules on conflict of interest.

In an interview made by Ganciagan, Secretary Alabastro voiced her optimism about the law which she hopes will revolutionize commercialization of technologies. Meanwhile, DOST-CALABARZON is hopeful that approval of the technology transfer law will accelerate the process of bringing results of public-funded research from the laboratory to the market.?(AMGuevarra\ DOST IV-A S&T Media Service)