NCIPR Seizes About P13.73B Worth of Counterfeit Goods in Jan-July 2019

Published on September 24, 2019

The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), in January to July this year, successfully prevented counterfeit goods, with a running approximate total value of P13.73 billion, from getting into the hands of consumers.

Seizure operations of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) contributed to the bulk of the value with a P9.32 billion haul. Customs followed with a haul worth P3.90 billion and the Food and Drug Administration with P2.82 billion.

According to partially validated data which cover P1.83 billion or a fifth of the total inventory for the seven months, majority of the fake items were cigarettes and alcohol products. This segment took up 25% or P456.80 million of the total validated inventories. 

This was followed by pharmaceuticals and personal care products, which took up 25% or P455.20 million; handbags or wallets, accounting also for 25% at P449.88 million; optical media, with 10% at P190.72 million; and footwear, with 7% at P130.12 million. 

The NCIPR has yet to authenticate the NBI's P8 billion worth of haul which comprises mostly of tobacco. Customs' capture of mostly wearable items worth P3.9 billion in a Divisoria mall has also yet to be validated.

The seizures in the January-to-July period this year is nearly 60% of the overall capture in 2018 which stood at P23.6 billion. 

So far, the trend seems to be moving similar to 2018's when cigarettes and pharmaceuticals and personal care products are topping the inventory. 

"The implementation of the hike in new and huge taxes on tobacco will start next year. Also, we are closely watching developments on the proposal to impose taxes on alcohol products and e-cigarettes and other vapor products. As early as now, we are readying ourselves for the possible rise of counterfeiting of these products by intensifying our exploration of new enforcement strategies to employ," said Josephine R. Santiago, Director-General of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, which is vice-chair of NCIPR. 

Last week, NCIPR once again underwent a brief but intensive capacity-building workshop on intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement. The two-day workshop was organized by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and attended by the Enforcement authorities representing each Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member. 

The workshop is one of the series of IPR Enforcement capacity-building events that NCIPR engages to find insights on the best practices it can adopt. The workshop also serves as an avenue to bolster collaboration with other participants of the event such as IPR legal counsels of private stakeholders and Enforcement authorities across ASEAN. 

"The NCIPR is also aggressively widening its network to put on board other government agencies into IPR Enforcement, " DG Santiago said. 

The inclusion into the NCIPR-team of more government agencies, particularly the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Immigration, and the Department of Information and Technology, is among the points for discussion in the first high-level NCIPR meeting to take place on Sept. 25 at the Dusit Thani Hotel. 

Other concerns to be tackled are: IPR enforcement in the online space; allocation of budget to boost personnel of NCIPR members dedicated to IPR enforcement; eradicating the use of unlicensed software in government offices; discussion on intensifying anti-camcording campaign; and the 2019-2022 Action Plan which will prioritize implementing preventive measures rather than cure.

Further, IPOPHL is working closely with the judiciary to expedite the disposal of cases relating to IPR violations. Immediately responding to IPOPHL's request, the Supreme Court (SC) recently formed a Subcommittee to review the 2011 Rules of Procedure on Intellectual Property Litigation.

The Subcommittee is composed of representatives from the SC, special court commercial judges, court administrators, and IPR practitioners. Chaired by SC Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta and vice-chaired by SC Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza, the Subcommittee held its first meeting on Sept. 19, Wednesday. 

IPOPHL remains open to proposals and suggestions on how to update the special rules on intellectual property litigation to the benefit of IPR holders.

About NCIPR

NCIPR is an interagency body that formulates and implements plans and policies, as well as strengthens the protection and enforcement of IPR in the country.

The NCIPR is composed of 12 members, with the Department of Trade and Industry as chair and the IPOPHL as vice-chair.

The other members are namely the: Department of Justice; Bureau of Customs; FDA; NBI; Philippine National Police; Optical Media Board; National Book Development Board; Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime; Department of the Interior and Local Government; and National Telecommunications Commission.