March 18, 2016
On February 18, 2016, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) held a consultation meeting to discuss the current status of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement efforts in the Philippines.
According to IPOPHIL, the year 2015 has been challenging in terms of IPR enforcement. The value of seized goods in 2015 was dramatically lower than the value of seized goods for the years 2010 to 2014. IPOPHIL believes that the lower number is the result of fewer raids conducted by the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation, as well as fewer visits conducted by the Optical Media Board, while there was almost no seizure and detention done by the Bureau of Customs. Moreover, IPOPHIL attributes the lower number of enforcement actions to organizational and leadership changes within the various law enforcement agencies.
Over the years, there has been a large discrepancy between the number of raids conducted and the number of IP criminal, civil and administrative cases filed. Therefore, IPOPHIL is encouraging IP owners to file cases and complaints. IPOPHIL acknowledged that IP owners are discouraged from filing cases due to the length of time involved in litigation, as well as the high costs related to warehousing of seized goods. IPOPHIL provided the following figures in terms of current IPR enforcement cases in the Philippines.
|Criminal Cases Filed Before the Special Commercial Courts|
With respect to the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights, IPOPHIL is proposing that the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Philippine Ports Authority, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council be included in the committee to increase cooperation and effectiveness of IPR enforcement efforts. IPOPHIL also reminded those present at the meeting that the Department of Trade and Industry has a Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, which is one avenue that IP owners can pursue to seize and destroy “deceptive” products, which includes substandard products. Finally, IPOPHIL announced that the lease to its warehouse has ended. Therefore, IPOPHIL instructed those using its warehouse to move their seized items to a different location.