Firms accelerate efforts vs counterfeiting, piracy

Published May 27, 2022, 6:19 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Companies operating in the country have reported of heightened efforts in curbing counterfeiting and piracy online, a year after signing the landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among e-commerce platforms and brand owners to fight intellectual property infringers.

During the first annual review of the MOU held last May 12, representatives from Lazada, Shopee, Zalora, Golden ABC, Globe Telecom, GlaxoSmithKline and Solar Pictures presented their achievements under the MOU.

Representatives from Lazada, Jason Brasileno, Head of Business and Enterprise Risk, said that the number of listings removed from their platform increased by 118 percent, from 74,801 in August to September 2021 to 163,287 in March to April 2022.

Lazada also established a trust-building awareness campaign through their “Sure Ka Sa Lazada” that guarantees that products are legitimate.

Speaking for Shopee Public Affairs Manager Jaimmie C. Hans-Segovia reported that removal of counterfeit and pirated product listings increased by more than 400% between August to September 2021 and March to April 2022.There was also a 300% increase in rights holder-signatories’ use of Shopee’s IP rights process.

Shopee also updated their IP process with tighter sanctions and new algorithms that target copied listings.

On the other hand, Samantha Poblacion, Country Legal Counsel of Zalora, reported zero reports of incidents of IP infringement due in part to the platform’s thorough onboarding process. Nevertheless, they’ve been introducing new ways to address possible incidents, such as establishing a reporting mechanism and educating consumers and merchants of Zalora’s IP policy.

Mahar Sulayman “Butch” Ibañez, Film Acquisitions Head of Solar Pictures, Inc., reported a 148 percent year-on-year increase of IP-infringing listings taken down by different platforms on the group’s request to protect movies and content owned by Solar.

Golden ABC’s Legal Manager for its IP Desk Kristian Nico C. Acosta likewise said there were more IP enforcement efforts made since acceding to the MOU, including an 83% hike in reports the company has requested for takedowns.

Meanwhile, Carlo Santos, Head of Analytics and Intelligence for Globe Telecom’s Corporate Communications, found over 1,600 posts infringing against the service provider for the full year of 2021, with almost 60 percent on fake broadband plans. On the other hand, Angel Chen, GSK’s Senior Counsel for Anti-Counterfeiting in the Asia Pacific, reported zero counterfeits on any platform.

Also at the event were representatives from Unilever, Daniel Wellington, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Philippine Retailers Association.

Observers from consulting firm UK Rouse, through its Philippine partner Baranda & Associates—which provided technical assistance on the MOU—and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were also present at the event.

One of the primary recommendations of the signatories to enhance the MOU was to expand by having more online platforms, services and other rights holders join and establish an IP Code of Practice.

“I assure you that IPOPHL is constantly campaigning for more brand owners to join,” Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said in response to the recommendation.

Other recommendations were the following: holding coordination/ bilateral consultations between brand owners and online platforms; educating brands, sellers and online platforms on topics like platforms’ IP policy or brands’ product identification; learning from each other’s best practices; incorporating new terms like “non-ori” or “photocopied” to identify red flag listings; and addressing traceability concerns.

Majority of the signatories also renewed their commitments to put up a united front in the fight against the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet and implement the MOU.

“We will continue to work closely with all of you to ensure the continuity of the MOU and its delivery of concrete outcomes,” Pascua said.

“We do emphasize this cooperation among brand owners and online platforms established in the Philippines—and based on the MOU in the European Union (EU)—has been considered as a best practice and cited by various international institutions already. Hence, we hope to greatly benefit from this,” Pascua said.