Microsoft grants software licenses to Philippine government

REDMOND, WA, November 21, 1997 — Microsoft Corporation today presented the Republic of the Philippines with a licensing grant on selected Microsoft software products. The grant signifies that the government is substantially in compliance with international and local laws protecting intellectual property rights, and provides the government with the public platform to advocate and enforce IPR laws in the Philippines.

Initial estimates from the government place the value of the certificate at between $600,000 to $1,000,000.

Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and CEO presented the grant today to visiting Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, who brought with him over 100 business and government contingent inside the Microsoft Campus here.

This was done after Gates and Ramos witnessed the signing of four Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine government and Microsoft that outlined areas of cooperation between the two parties. These areas are the Philippine National Information Technology Plan, the formation of an electronic commerce council, development of online learning communities, and the institutionalization of a software management and review plan for the government.

Last June, President Ramos signed into law Republic Act 8293 also known as the new Intellectual Property Code that increased fines and penalties for infringement in software copyright. The law will take effect January next year and it will create a new Intellectual Property Office that will oversee the full implementation of the law in the Philippines.

Last month, Ramos recognized eight government agencies that have
“substantially complied”
with Memorandum Circular 115 or MC115. Signed by President Ramos two years ago, the circular directed
“all departments, agencies and instrumentalities to legalize the computer software and to acquire only licensed software.”

The president made the announcement during the 50 th Anniversary celebration of the Establishment of the Patents and Trademarks System in the Philippines and the Intellectual property Rights Week at the Heroes Hall of Malacanang Palace. The event was witnessed by hundreds of government employees and covered by major broadcast and print media.

The government agencies recognized in the ceremony were the National Computer Center (NCC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Budget and Management, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), National Development Corp. (NDC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Commission on Elections, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSA).

During the recognition ceremonies, the President said
“the Code has introduced innovative approaches to make the implementation and enforcement of our Intellectual Property system more efficient and effective,”
the President said.
“Our policy to enforce the IPR Law advances our national interest as well as better conditions for investment, trade and technological development.”

He specifically noted the importance of using unlicensed software as detrimental to the development of the country’s software industry.

“Rampant copying of software severely damages our local software development industry by discouraging local software engineers to develop their own products. Government is also deprived of customs duties and tax revenues.”

President Ramos reiterated that the recognition of the eight agencies
“emphasizes the need that software be standardized and rationalized to achieve cost effectiveness”
in government.

“We are more than happy to support the government’s efforts in promoting use of licensed software. With the President’s full endorsement of these efforts and the active enforcement of the new IPR law by government, we can see that the Philippines will improve in its compliance rate,”
said Dave De Leon, Microsoft Philippines country manager.

Microsoft Contact: Sam Jacoba: In Seattle (206) 909-3519; In Manila (632) 811-0062

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