By Janina C. Lim, Reporter
THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) seeks to strengthen the Intellectual Property (IP) Code with its recommended amendments now filed as a bill.
“We have put legal mechanisms in place through the Amendments to the IP Code, House Bill 1948, the bill for which was already submitted to the Philippine Congress,” IPOPHL Director-General Josephine R. Santiago said at the National Committee on Intellectual Property Right’s (NCIPR) annual destruction ceremony held Friday in Quezon City.
“In recognition of the challenges the digital environment poses to our crusade against pirated and counterfeit goods, we have proposed a provision on the authority of the office to issue ‘notice & takedown’ to address online piracy & counterfeiting,” Ms. Santiago added.
The proposed bill also institutionalizes the NCIPR, government’s anti-piracy task force, as a permanent unit “with a permanent & dedicated IP representative in each of the agencies,” according to Ms. Santiago.
The IPOPHL plans to refile the bill in the next Congress to add more provisions.
One recommendation is for the infringed copyright owner to have ownership of the domain name of the violating website, expanding the entitlement from just advertising revenues earned by the infringing site.
The proposal was inspired from ABS-CBN Corp.’s winning $27 million in damages after a Florida court recently found seven websites guilty of streaming ABS-CBN-produced content without the media giant’s consent.
Meanwhile, the agency also floated its alternative dispute resolution services which allow for mediation and arbitration between concerned parties instead of through the courts.
“The IPOPHL’s arbitration service can be a faster, more cost-effective alternative to the obstacles that impede the resolution of IP counterfeit cases in the courts,” Ms. Santiago said, adding that “foreign friends and partners” have raised issues in the country’s facilitation of cases filed regarding infringement.
“This is a route not tested or even used by IP owners but (ADR) is available,” Ms. Santiago said.
The IPOPHL plans to conduct an arbitration workshop this year to train at least 40 arbitrators, with the aim of responding faster in handling IP cases.
On Friday, the agency held its annual destruction ceremony where P65 million worth of pirated and counterfeit goods seized in 2018 were destroyed.
Last year’s haul, worth P23.6 billion, posted a record-high and a surge from 2017’s P8.2 billion.
Of the fake items seized in 2018, 85% were cigarettes.
The representative amount of P65.45 million worth of counterfeit goods destroyed in Camp Crame on Friday comprised of:
P16.1 million — Louis Vuitton wallets
P15.82 million — Louis Vuitton bags
P10.12 million — shoes (Adidas, Nike, Under Armor and Vans)
P 10 million — Oppo phones and back cases
P7.28 million — Louis Vuitton cellphone cases
P2.42 million — Louis Vuitton notepad cases
P1.80 million — Rolex watches
P1 million — Lacoste shirts
P 280,000 — Louis Vuitton belts
P 150,000 — Louis Vuitton money clips
P 58,500 — DVDs
P 50,000.00 — Irwin Tools brand cutting blades
The ceremonial destruction was held as part of the celebration this April of National Intellectual Property Rights month.
The NCIPR is looking at holding another destruction ceremony in October to celebrate National Consumer Welfare Month.