By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The inter-agency National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) has vowed to revv up efforts to curb the use of counterfeit and pirated goods as violators have aggressively utilized the internet to boost their illegal operations.
This was stressed by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), which sits as vice-chair of the NCIPR, during last Friday’s second Ceremonial Destruction of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods for the year to mark its strong intent to revv up enforcement efforts in dealing with challenges in the digital economy.
Delivering the welcome remarks at the destruction ceremony in Camp Crame Grandstand in Quezon City, Deputy Director-General (DDG) Teodoro C. Pascua lamented how counterfeiters and pirates have aggressively utilized technology, digital platforms and online intermediaries to sell counterfeit products and flourish its enterprises.
“The Internet has created enormous opportunities for companies to promote and market their brands to consumers. However, its global reach, openness, and largely unregulated character have also created avenue for the trade and distribution of fake products,” said Pascua.
“This Ceremonial Destruction’s theme ‘Pagpapalakas ng NCIPR Kasabay ng Lumalagong e-Konomiya,’ is relevant and timely in the enforcement effort in the present digital age and online economy. A strategy that will integrate human and technological resources of the government, the private sector and other key players, is vital to effectively combat the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy given the increasing sophistication and methods employed in selling counterfeit products such as the use of IT, internet and electronic platforms,” Pascua said.
“Coordination and collaboration as a primary and central strategy among NCIPR member agencies promotes combination and unification of ideas, solutions, actions and resources, and enhances efficiency in the delivery of NCIPR’s programs and activities,” the IPOPHL official added.
Pascua said the significant increase of seizures of counterfeit goods in the Philippines is attributable to the persistent efforts, commitment, and cooperation of the NCIPR member agencies.
In January to July this year, the NCIPR prevented counterfeit goods, with a running approximate total value of P13.73 billion, from getting into the hands of consumers.
According to partially validated data which cover P1.83 billion or a fifth of the total inventory for the seven months, majority of the fake items were cigarettes and alcohol products. This segment took up 25% or P456.80 million of the total validated inventories.
For Friday’s Ceremonial Destruction, the NCIPR crushed P80.2 million worth of goods, bulk or 72% of which, in terms of value, was accounted for by the haul of the Bureau of Customs.
Customs’ seizure is comprised of high value watches, lotions, branded bags, and soap.
The haul of the Optical Media Board followed with 20,000 pieces of DVD valued at P7 million.
IPOPHL Director-General (DG) Josephine R. Santiago said the Ceremonial Destruction is also in celebration of October as the National Anti-Piracy month, pursuant to Proclamation no. 596 signed last year by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“Piracy, a colloquial for certain forms of copyright infringement, is an enemy of creativity. Not only does it steal from creators their right to enjoy the gains that can be legally reaped from their works, but, more disturbingly, it robs our country of a cultural icon and revenues,” the IPOPHL chief said in her keynote speech, as delivered by DDG Nelson P. Laluces.
However, one of the biggest obstacles for IPOPHL is enforcing the IP Code which is way behind technological advancements that have been unfolding since the law’s implementation in 1998.
IPOPHL aims to address this by updating certain provisions of the IP Code. IPOPHL’s proposed amendments.