The Baybayin advocacy group is planning to sue the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) for intellectual property theft from a proposed logo redesign and the government body’s snub of their inquiry about it.

“We plan to file both a civil case and a complaint at the Ombudsman,” Jay Enage, Baybayin chairman, told InterAksyon.com in an interview and article.

To be included also in the possible suit is the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), which is under the Department of Trade and Industry. According to the Baybayin group, it was the DCP who commissioned their help in designing a new logo for IPOPHL in 2011, who then used it without informing or compensating them.

The idea behind the logo came from John Leyson, who came up with it during his tenure of the design agency Liquid and Liquid, also was working with the aggrieved group.

“If you stole something and sold it to someone, both of them should be held liable,” Enage said.

Enage said they confronted IPOPHL this year after securing the services of an IP lawyer. But after a series of negotiations that also involved DCP, Enage said they were told they could only be compensated a maximum of P700 honoraria for their work.

Leyson, the Baybayin designer who did the logo concept, said they are pursuing damages after they were wronged and also to set a precedent that would protect other artists from such wrongdoing.

“Even the blind can see. This is outright and blatant plagiarism by who? IPO Philippines,” Leyson said. “Hindi yan parang serendipity na si John Leyson nag-design at si IPO nag-design pareho. Nagsimula yan sa design ko and inamin na nila yan during our meetings. Ewan ko kung bakit ngayon tinatanggi nila. (This isn’t a case of serendipity where John Leyson and the IPO coincidentally designed the exact same thing. It started with my design and they admitted that during our meetings. I don’t know why they’re denying that now.)”

Several attempts to get explanations or compensation were not returned favorably, and even inquiries from their Facebook page were turned down, prompting the drastic action.

Leyson reportedly offered a choice for IPO PH previously: a public apology, or the case in civil court and the Ombudsman, which is now the primary action the group will be taking.

Baybayin founder Jay Enage with Baybayin designer John Leyson.

Meanwhile, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has denied allegations their redesigned logo was ripped off from an idea pitched by Leyson.

“The IPOPHL logo was designed by the Design Center of the Philippines,” IPOPHL said in a statement, disputing a claim by a certain Kristian Kabuay.

According to Kabuay, even the description was stolen from the proposed design, apart from the logo itself.

IPOPHL, however, said they never engaged with Leyson’s group for the logo.

“It must be stressed that IPOPHL has never met nor transacted with any of the officers or members of the Baybayin Group from conceptualization until finalization of the logo,” IPOPHL said.

The agency, however, admitted they met with Leyson’s group on four occasions to clarify their claims, but they declined a demand of P500,000 as compensation.

IPOPHL also contended that no one owns exclusive intellectual property over the baybayin script, a letter of which they used as an element in their logo.

“Baybayin is an ancient script, and no one has the exclusive right to use it,” IPOHL claimed.

Shown below is the comparative illustrations proving IPO did steal the idea, according to Taklobo Baybayin.

The diagram of the logo, in its proposed form.

The following is the resources used by IPO, taking elements from the previous.

The elements now used by IPO PH, albeit without acknowledgement, credit or compensation.

With this infringement highlighted, there’s a new image going around the social media.

For shame!

The reactions from people are obviously angry, from the hypocrisy and irony.

The hypocrisy pointed out by the people.

(Some screengrabs from Taklobo Baybayin)