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Th 3, 18/06/2024 | 09:58 SA

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The Network of Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC) - An important platform for advancing research aimed at achieving sustainable development goals

In the future, the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam (IP Viet Nam) will continue review, assess and categorize network members based on specific criteria, in order to recognize and encourage TISC members to generate more innovative, creative results and more actively participate in the network.

1. Establishing a network that fosters research with the purpose of "sharing - cooperation - mutual development"

The Network of Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC) was established in 2009 within the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) initiative. The main objectives are to support the access and utilization of high-quality science and technology information and services, exploit innovation potential, and facilitate the establishment, protection, and management of intellectual property rights. Research institutions, universities, research centers, businesses, and other organizations interested in promoting technology development, exploitation, and commercialization can be members of TISC network. WIPO act as the network's coordinating body at the international level. National intellectual property offices serve as focal points that facilitate and coordinate the network on a national scale.

 By the end of 2023, the worldwide TISC network consist of 1,583 members in 93 countries. Four regional networks have been established, including ASEAN, Africa, Europe, and Arab countries in order to improve communication and exchange information and experiences that are suitable for the specific characteristics of each region.

In order to enhance the scale and quality of TISC network operations globally and provide researchers with more valuable services, WIPO has recently launched a number of supporting initiatives through three fundamental methods: (i) training and mentoring activities to enhance capacity; (ii) developing and providing resources; and (iii) providing connection tools.

(i) Training and mentoring activities: they are conducted with aim of providing in-depth knowledge and skills in different areas, consequently improving the quality and effectiveness of services provided by network members. The training and mentoring programs focus on skills in writing descriptions, conducting searches, analyzing patent information, technology transfer, valuation, and commercialization of patents, etc. Various training and propaganda tools and publications have been created and developed by WIPO for the national and regional TISC networks.

Picture 1: A number of specialized publications of WIPO for TISC network

(ii) Developing and providing resources: WIPO creates a variety of online tools to develop resources and fosters best conditions for network members to effectively exploit and apply these tools in their research and implementation, such as: the Access to Specialized Patent Information (ASPI) program, the Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program, the data system Research4life with over 200,000 data sources in various fields; the digital tools and platforms WIPO INSPIRE.

Picture 2: Various digital platforms of WIPO to support TISC network operation

With these digital platforms, WIPO has created a unique mechanism to consolidate information and knowledge in the field of intellectual property, which allow researchers to easily, effectively access to a wide range of information sources, including patent databases, patent analysis tools, generating general reports on patent protection technology/ patent map to serve the research orientation and policy making, etc. In addition, WIPO has developed tools dedicated to intellectual property and technology transfer, providing information and knowledge of the intellectual property policy framework which covers all stages of the innovation cycle: from generating idea to establishing intellectual property rights and commercializing intellectual property assets in the market. Through this digital platform, TISC can access WIPO's intellectual property policy database which links to intellectual property policies and other related issues (such as policies on consultation, copyright, conflicts of interest, software, open access and derivative works...) of universities and research facilities around the world.

(iii) Providing connection tools: In order to facilitate the connection of the global TISC network, WIPO has also implemented various initiatives to improve interaction and efficiently manage the TISC network of countries, such as the eTISC digital social platform which enables network members to share information, experiences, and ideas; the or the TISC network performance assessment tool (TPPM) developed and tested since 2022 which allows WIPO to monitor TISC projects on a global scale to effectively assess and providing support and capacity building activities according, etc.

In addition, on an annual basis, WIPO organizes regional meetings where representatives from national TISC network members gather with objectives to assess operational results, define development directions, exchange and share experiences and initiatives among members and explore cooperation opportunities to improve the capacity and operational efficiency of the regional network.

Picture 3: The regional meeting on strengthening the ASEAN Regional TISC Network organized by WIPO in Lao PDR in March, 2024

2. Experience of ASEAN countries in successfully implementing and operating the TISC network

(i) Philippines

By the end of 2023, the Philippines TISC Network has 87 members, comprising universities and research institutes in the public and private sectors at the national and local levels. Among them, 70 agencies have issued intellectual property policies (on the basis of WIPO's intellectual property policy framework).

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has developed an evaluation toolkit to assess the performance of TISC network members. This toolkit includes specific criteria that categorize TISCs into four levels: Titanium, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Every year, this set of criteria is revised and updated to reflect WIPO's policies and objectives as well as the current operational context of the national TISC network. IPOPHL and all network members reached agreement on this set of criteria and made a commitment to ensure that they all comply with it. Furthermore, IPOPHL also developed and issued a network development plan for every region. The plan undergoes a thorough review, revision, and supplementation every 3 years.

In order to ensure the sustainability of the network, IPOPHL follows a strict process and procedure that consists of two steps when selecting members to join the network. These steps are as follows:

- Step 1: Receiving applications from entities wishing to join the network and assess whether they qualify for membership. The application dossier requires a Commitment from the leader of the entity, details on facilities and human resources of the related unit that will be assigned as TISC, and a list of at least four staff members who are willing to commit to working at TISC for a minimum of three years.

- Step 2: Organizing an interview with leaders and senior officials of the entity that is registering to join the network with IPOPHL leaders in order to establish an agreement and ensure the commitment from the leadership level.

Every year, IPOPHL organizes the Senior Leadership Conference for network members with objectives to review the previous year's activities, develop plans and orientations for the following year and share experiences. During the conference, IPOPHL announces the member classification results and gives awards to members who have made significant contributions to the network. In addition, IPOPHL also organizes other conferences for all network members to foster a forum for connection and interaction to improve the network's operational efficiency.

Picture 4: A number of pictures on activities of the Philippines TISC Network in 2023 (Source: presentation of Philippines’ representative during the regional meeting on strengthening the ASEAN Regional TISC Network organized by WIPO in Lao PDR in March, 2024)

In order to encourage more active participation from universities and research institutes in the TISC network, IPOPHL has implemented a range of supportive policies. These include providing experts for coaching and training programs as well as other supporting and consulting activities; reducing the search fee and formality examination fee for patent registration applications under the Patent Cooperation System (PCT); providing consultants for technology transfer contracts; reducing the substantive examination fee and the maintenance fee of the first year's validity of the patent with commercial potential, etc.

(ii) Malaysia

Malaysia give priority to universities and postgraduate training institutions involved in research when selecting members for the TISC national network. Membership registration procedures are also strictly implemented through the following steps: receiving and examining applications, organizing interviews, and signing a memorandum of understanding. The parties agree to fully implement and comply with the provisions defined in the memorandum of understanding. Adjustments to the memorandum of understanding are only made by the parties in the event of force majeure conditions, in accordance with their original agreement.

To motivate TISC network members, the Malaysian Intellectual Property Office (MyIPO) implemented many supportive initiatives, such as a fund to support patent registration, a platform for the development of intellectual property asset market, a program to foster collaboration between, etc.

Picture 5: Some pictures on activities supporting the Malaysia’s TISC Network in 2023 (Source: presentation of Malaysia’ representative during the regional meeting on strengthening the ASEAN Regional TISC Network organized by WIPO in Lao PDR in March, 2024)

Furthermore, MyIPO has developed a cooperation program with the Indonesian Directorate General of Intellectual Property to promote the development of the TISC network, including the deployment of online training courses through digital platforms; conducting pilot projects to shorten the examination time for certain of intellectual property subject matters in both countries; facilitating access to digital platforms for the development of an intellectual property asset commercialization market in the two countries.

3. Developing the national TISC network in Viet Nam towards sustainable development goals

Viet Nam joined the global TISC network since 2010, starting with just 3 member. As the end of 2023, the TISC network in Viet Nam had 51 members, including universities, research institutes in the public and private sectors, and businesses engaged in research and development activities. The IP Training and Consultation Center has been designated by the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam (IP Viet Nam) as the focal point for carrying out activities related to the Viet Nam TISC network. In recent times, IP Viet Nam focused on expanding and developing activities within the network, both in scale and quality aspects. By promoting communication and connection, in 2023, the network welcomed five new members who are big universities and research facilities from across the country.

Picture 6: Overview on membership of Viet Nam TISC Network

In 2024, WIPO launched the theme to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day (April 26): "Intellectual Property and the Strategic Development Goals: Building our common future with innovation and creativity". It is obvious that intellectual property is intellectual property is playing a growing role as an important catalyst for innovation, a tool to protect the rights of creators and innovators and to encourage a fair competitive environment. By implementing mechanisms that ensure exclusive rights on the principle of balancing interests, the intellectual property system encourages research activities and the creation of advanced technologies contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Intellectual property, technology transfer, and innovation are fields that constantly exist side by side, serve as the catalyst for mutual development, and have been having a bigger impact on the tasks and solutions needed to reach the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.

In line with this philosophy, IP Viet Nam has defined its policy to support and encourage the enhancement of the efficiency and quality of TISC network operations. This serves as a significant catalyst for the development of the national intellectual property system in the direction of a common future through innovation and creativity.

In accordance with WIPO's support framework, the activities to support the operation of the Viet Nam TISC network will continue to be conducted through 3 main areas, including:

(i) Training and mentoring on intellectual property knowledge and skills

Based on TISC members' needs, IP Viet Nam will organize or nominate officials and experts to speak at in-depth intellectual property training courses. The goals are to enhance skills in conducting research, evaluating patent information, writing patent descriptions, evaluating and commercializing intellectual property assets created from research results.

Additionally, IP Viet Nam continuously monitors and searches for training programs and seminars that are hosted by international agencies and organizations in order to provide recommendations to TISC officials regarding their attendance at these events.

IP Viet Nam is coordinating with WIPO to research and implement a certification program for Vietnamese TISC staff to improve professionalism and motivate staff with sufficient expertise and experience to remain with the network for an extended period, to contribute more to the network’s development.

(ii) Providing tools and resources to support TISC's activities

IP Viet Nam has established a dedicated section for TISC network members on its website with aim to provide members with up-to-date information, both domestic and international, related to the network and to share specialized publications, documents and data which makes it easier for members to search for and use these resources.

In the coming time, In the near future, IP Viet Nam has plans to conduct research and implement various supportive policies for network members, such as providing consultants to assist in developing IP policy at the agency level, providing consultants to assist in drafting patent descriptions, shortening the examination time for TISC's patent applications, providing information to serve the preparation of Technology Development Trend Assessment Reports, and Patent map.

(iii) Strengthening the connection and interaction among network members

In the future, IP Viet Nam will continue to assess and categorize network members based on specific criteria, so that TISCs can be recognized and encouraged to create more initiatives, creations, and dynamism throughout operations. IP Viet Nam has successfully utilized social networking platforms to establish closer connections with TISC's focal officers. Facilitating events and forums (both at the leadership and technical levels) for TISCs to connect, communicate, share experiences, and explore cooperation opportunities is a key priority activity in the near future.

The IP Training and Consultation Center

(Translator: Duy Khanh)