PCCI bats for GI legislation

Published May 29, 2022, 9:05 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is batting for a legislation on geographical indication (GI) to protect various sectors and generate income for the domestic economy.

PCCI President George Baracelon said during a renewal of partnership with the Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) to promote and strengthen IP awareness and understanding among Filipino businesses and entrepreneurs. During the meeting, Barcelon and WIPO Officer-in-Charge Peter Willimott agreed that there should be a national strategy to build respect for IP and develop tools to create IP awareness.

“Giving a push to Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) to introduce and lobby for the GI law in Congress will generate positive outcomes seeing as it can benefit various sectors of the country such as the agriculture, arts and crafts, and tourism sector,” said Barcelon.

Both parties discussed the types of Intellectual Property rights in the Philippines, which comprises of Patent, Copyright, Trademark, and Industrial Design and Geographical Indication (GI).

The IPOPHL has drafted the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on GI in a bid to strengthen the protection of GI products in the country.

The IRR, drafted by the Bureau of Trademarks, aims to fulfill the recognition of GIs as protectible IP under the IP Code of 1997. It will also fulfill the obligation of the Philippines as a member of the World Trade Organization to provide reciprocal rights and GI protection to other members.

“Protection of geographical indications is vital in building the competitive advantage of our local and indigenous products,” read the draft IRR, which went through its first round of stakeholder consultations last May 12.

The draft IRR defines GIs as “any indication which identifies a good as originating in a territory, region or locality, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and/or human factors.”

GIs in the Philippines are protected under the Trademarks section of the Intellectual Property Code of 1997. The famous Guimaras Mangoes and the Tau Sebu T’nalak, registered as collective marks, are identified as potential GIs.

Others are Bicol Pili, Davao Pomelo, Cordillera Heirloom Rice; Camiguin Lanzones; Davao Cacao; Kalinga Coffee; Antique’s Bagtason Loom; Aurora’s Sabutan Weave; Samar’s Basey Banig; Basilan and Zamboanga’s Yakan cloth; and, most recently, the Masbate beef and Baguio Strawberry.

For his part, Willimott expressed WIPO’s interest to engage PCCI to help in the Chamber’s advocacies for IP awareness and understanding.

“The long-term engagements include working with relevant agencies to add innovation components to school curriculum, similar to how the WIPO academy develops its curriculum. The short term, on the other hand, involves capacitating businesses on brand protection, particularly, among the SMEs,” Willimott said.

The PCCI and WIPO agreed to hold a webinar series composed of topics on brand protection, ensuring IPs are protected online, and expansion of businesses in the digital world can be hosted in the WIPO or PCCI pages.