By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) would like to require online shopping platforms to implement an intellectual property policy so they are accountable for the genuineness of the merchandize sold in their sites.
IPOPHL Director-General Josephine Rima Santiago said this as she expressed apprehension the e-commerce would bring on their operation.
Santiago noted that the direction now is e-commerce and enterprises are encouraged to go online for facility.
“While this is a big opportunity for others, this is a big threat to IPOPHL,” she stressed.
Santiago noted that online shopping platforms just upload these merchandize for sale.
“That is a threat to our agency,” Santiago said noting it would be difficult to impose IP on e-commerce as they might end up becoming an obstacle to government effort towards digitalization.
Already, the IPOPHL would like to include in the proposed amendments of the IP Code where online platforms should be required to adapt their own IP policy. This means that online platforms would require their vendors that the products the sell are not fake or counterfeit items.
The idea is that websites that violate IP should be taken down.
Santiago said they have reached out to one online platform OLX.
IPOPHL Deputy DG Teodoro C. Pascua also said they were meeting with Lazada and Shopee, two biggest online shopping platforms.
The IP authority in the country has been reaching out to online shopping outlets because until there is a law, IPOPHL cannot force them to ensure their products are authentic.
There is also a delineation of functions. Consumer complaints against fake products would normally fall under the Department of Trade and Industry, but complaints against infringements of intellectual property rights such as trademarks and copyrights are under IPOPHL.
Thus, aside from meeting possible sponsors of the IP Code amendments in the Lower House and Senate, IPOPHL is also meeting with co-government agencies like the DTI, Department of Information and Communications Technology and National Telecommunications Commission to come up with an IP policy for the e-commerce.
IPOPHL is thinking of registration of these platforms and be accountable that products sold in their platforms are only authentic products.
As of September this year, the government has confiscated a total of P17.9 billion worth of fake and counterfeit goods, most of which were cigarettes and cigarette paraphernalia.
The nine-month haul marked the biggest in the decade-long history of the inter-agency National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights, which is led by the IPOPHL.