By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), led by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has netted P5.3 billion worth of fake and counterfeit goods in the first quarter of 2018, with fake cigarettes and cigarette production equipment taking up almost the entire haul.
With P5.3 billion worth of seized goods in Q1 2018, IPOPHL has already gotten more than half the total value of fake goods confiscated for 2017 – and represents a triple-digit growth year-over-year.
“The 2018 first quarter seizure reflects a triple-digit growth from the comparable period last year and attests to IPOPHL and NCIPR’s unflagging efforts to stamp out the spread of counterfeit and pirated goods. This Q1 seizure does not even reflect yet the value seized by the Bureau of Customs which routinely impounds a substantial amount of fake goods from the country’s gateways. With this strong showing in enforcement of IP rights, we believe we can surpass the P8.2 billion in fake and counterfeit items gotten in 2017,” IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said in press conference in Dumaguete, where the twelfth intellectual property satellite office was launched.
The IPOPHL, vice chair of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) and the committee’s lead coordinator, reported a 498% year-over-year growth in the first quarter of 2018. In the same period last year, the value of counterfeit and fake goods seized was at P886 million. 2017’s total haul was at P8.2 billion.
According to NCIPR data, among the NCIPR enforcement agencies, the Philippine National Police (PNP) confiscated the lion’s share of the haul at 94 percent, or P5 billion during Q1 2018. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) contributed P209 million, while the Optical Media Board (OMB) confiscated P103 million worth of goods. The Bureau of Customs has yet to submit its enforcement data.
Per type of good, cigarettes and cigarette production paraphernalia took the top spot in value, estimated to be worth P5 billion, followed by handbags & wallets at P137 million, then optical media at P103 million.
Footwear took the fourth spot in terms of value, with P55 million worth of it confiscated in the first quarter. Other goods (manufactured parts, and food items) were valued at P25 million.
The P5 billion worth of cigarettes and cigarette production paraphernalia seized refer to the PNP’s one-time seizure of a factory manufacturing fake cigarettes in Bulacan, reported by the DOF early in February.
For the first quarter of 2018, the PNP conducted 17 operations, issued 14 search warrants, and arrested 14 individuals.
In Q1 2017, the Optical Media Board (OMB) seized the highest value of fake goods, at P349 million, followed by the Bureau of Customs with a confiscated haul worth P296 million. The National Bureau of Investigation came third, with P230 million in fake goods and products. The Philippine National Police impounded P9.8 million worth of goods.
Per good, in the first quarter of 2017, optical media was the top pirated item in terms of value, with P349 million hauled in by the OMB. This was followed by counterfeit handbags and wallets, worth P238.5 million, then rounding out the top three is counterfeit wearing apparel and accessories, worth P125.6 million.
The value of fake goods confiscated by the government fluctuates every year and it depends on the class of goods and the market value of the original goods in the formal economy.
“This substantial take in the first quarter alone indicates the aggressive drive of our enforcement partners to clamp down on proliferating fake and counterfeit goods. Government has been persistent not just in impeding entry of these goods through the ports, but apprehending local manufacturers and distributors of these products,” IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua added during a recent meeting with United States Trade Representative (USTR), wherein the Q1 enforcement data was reported.