NCIPR to Rev Up Efforts Amid Booming Internet Economy
Published on October 18, 2019
The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) on Friday, Oct. 18 held a second Ceremonial Destruction of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods for the year to mark its strong intent to revv up enforcement efforts in dealing with challenges in the digital economy.
Delivering the welcome remarks at the Camp Crame Grandstand in Quezon City was the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Deputy Director-General (DDG) Teodoro C. Pascua of the IPOPHL, which sits as vice-chair of the NCIPR.
DDG Pascua lamented how counterfeiters and pirates have aggressively utilized technology, digital platforms and online intermediaries to sell counterfeit products and flourish its enterprises.
"The internet has created enormous opportunities for companies to promote and market their brands to consumers. However, its global reach, openness, and largely unregulated character have also created avenue for the trade and distribution of fake products," the IPOPHL official added.
"This Ceremonial Destruction’s theme 'Pagpapalakas ng NCIPR Kasabay ng Lumalagong e-Konomiya,' relevant and timely in the enforcement effort in the present digital age and online economy. A strategy that will integrate human and technological resources of the government, the private sector and other key players, is vital to effectively combat the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy given the increasing sophistication and methods employed in selling counterfeit products such as the use of IT, internet and electronic platforms," DDG Pascua said.
"Coordination and collaboration as a primary and central strategy among NCIPR member agencies promotes combination and unification of ideas, solutions, actions and resources, and enhances efficiency in the delivery of NCIPR’s programs and activities," the IPOPHL official added.
DDG Pascua said the significant increase of seizures of counterfeit goods in the Philippines is attributable to the persistent efforts, commitment, and cooperation of the NCIPR member agencies.
In January to July this year, the NCIPR prevented counterfeit goods, with a running approximate total value of P13.73 billion, from getting into the hands of consumers.
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.
For Friday's Ceremonial Destruction, the NCIPR crushed P80.2 million worth of goods, bulk or 72% of which, in terms of value, was accounted for by the haul of the Bureau of Customs.
Customs' seizure is comprised of high value watches, lotions, branded bags, and soap.
The haul of the Optical Media Board followed with 20,000 pieces of DVD valued at P7 million.
IPOPHL Director-General (DG) Josephine R. Santiago said the Ceremonial Destruction is also in celebration of October as the National Anti-Piracy month, pursuant to Proclamation no. 596 signed last year by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
"Piracy, a colloquial for certain forms of copyright infringement, is an enemy of creativity. Not only does it steal from creators their right to enjoy the gains that can be legally reaped from their works, but, more disturbingly, it robs our country of a cultural icon and revenues," the IPOPHL chief said in her keynote speech, as delivered by DDG Nelson P. Laluces.
However, one of the biggest obstacles for IPOPHL is enforcing the IP Code which is way behind technological advancements that have been unfolding since the law's implementation in 1998.
IPOPHL aims to address this by updating certain provisions of the IP Code. IPOPHL's proposed amendments include:
1) the institutionalization of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights or NCIPR
2) the creation of a Sub-Committee under the NCIPR. The Sub-Committee will have the power to issue orders that will restrict, limit, reduce, or disable the capability of online platforms and the persons operating them to engage in infringing activities. The Sub-Committee will be able to remove allegedly infringing materials, block access thereto including payment gateways, and permanently shut down websites or online platforms.
3) substantially increasing penalties especially to counterfeit or pirated products that pose danger to safety and health; and
4) expanding the jurisdiction of IPOPHL to help MSMEs seek administrative remedies, among others.
The text proposal was submitted to Congress in September for deliberation.
"We hope it will be one of the priority bills. We hope the legislative emerges as a partner as we have been engaging as many people in society to work hand-in-hand with us through IPOPHL's advocacy and education campaign so we can keep up with the dchanges in the technological landscape," DG Santiago said. [END]
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.
What is the Ceremonial Destruction of Counterfeit and pirated Goods?
The Ceremonial Destruction aims to demonstrate and condemn the negative effects of counterfeiting and piracy to the economy such as substantial losses in government revenues, reduced employment in legitimate enterprises, poor quality consumer products and serious threat to the health and safety of the public.
The activity also aims to remind intellectual property violators of the government's zero-tolerance against their acts and educate on the active work the NCIPR, IP partners, and other key actors, conduct to fight these illegal activities.
The activity is held annually by the NCIPR. However, the Ceremonial Destruction on Oct. 18 marks the first time the interagency body held two Ceremonial Destructions in a year.