EU finds PH IPR protection wanting

Published October 27, 2020, 7:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Aside from human rights issue, the European Union has found the Philippines’ intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement wanting.

Trade Counsellor Maurizio Cellini of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, who was the speaker at the recently-concluded intellectual property forum for practitioners from Southeast Asia, stressed the need to continue addressing market access barriers caused by inadequate intellectual property rights protection in light of the very strong bilateral trade relations.

“With the very strong trade relations between our markets, it is therefore in our mutual interest to continue to clear market access barriers owing to inadequate protection and enforcement mechanisms that are needed to sufficiently protect IP rights,” said Cellini.

He stressed that the Philippines is an important and valued trading partner of the European Union.”

Bilateral trade in goods were at €14.9 billion in 2019; while bilateral services were at € 3.7 billion in 2018. The EU foreign direct investment stock in the Philippines reached € 13.8 billion in the same year, making the EU the largest foreign investor in the Philippines.

Through the years, we have seen some improvements in the intellectual property regime of the Philippines through the efforts of the Intellectual Property of the Philippines, he added.

“The EU remains committed to supporting its trading partners, such as the Philippines, in continuing to secure and to protect the intellectual property rights of innovators, creatives, and investors, particularly during these challenging times,” he said.

In addition, the EU Delegation to the Philippines has called on intellectual property offices in Southeast Asia to re-assess their role in helping economies and businesses survive, and remain resilient, by continuing to be innovative and competitive during this pandemic.

“We are happy that IP Key SEA supports intellectual property rights protection and enforcement in the region and helps facilitate market access to international trading partners,” said Cellini noting the IP Key South-East Asia contributes its technical expertise and helps mount awareness-raising campaigns on intellectual property rights protection.

The IP Key South-East Asia is funded  by the European Union and is implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office. It aims at supporting the interests of the European Union by helping countries address specific emerging challenges in the area of intellectual property.

IPRs such as patents, trademarks, designs, copyrights or geographical indications enable inventors, creators and businesses to prevent unauthorized exploitation of their creations, and to receive compensation for their investment.  These also offer guarantees to users or consumers to identify the origin of the goods concerned.

Cellini said that the EU is a strong supporter of geographical indications and that the EU is ready to provide technical expertise and guidance on how best to help set up a system of protection in the Philippines.       

A geographical indication is a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other such characteristics relate to its geographical origin.

The EU supports better protection of geographical indications internationally due to the increasing number of violations throughout the world. The EU is active in multilateral and bilateral negotiations protecting EU geographical indications.