Gov’t seizes P13.3B worth of fake goods as of Nov.
MANILA, Philippines–The total value of counterfeit and pirated products seized by the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) more than doubled to P13.29 billion in the first 11 months of the year, surpassing the record high posted by the agency in 2011.
Seizures made from January to November this year reflected a 116-percent surge compared to the P6.16 billion worth of counterfeit products confiscated last year.
The value was also significantly higher than the previous high of P8.38 billion, data from NCIPR member-agency Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) showed.
“The significant increases can be attributed to the joint efforts of the Bureau of Customs, National Bureau of Investigation, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). It confirms our theory that most counterfeits come from abroad and border control is crucial,” IPOPHL director general Ricardo R. Blancaflor said in a text message on Tuesday.
“Likewise, most of the operations are initiated by brand owners and their counsel, thus resulting in more raids and operations,” he added.
The biggest contribution to the seizures came from the joint operations conducted by the Bureau of Customs, NBI, IPOPHL, which hauled in P9.34 billion worth of counterfeit products.
The second-biggest contribution came from the BOC, which seized P2.16 billion worth of fake goods; followed by the NBI, with P824.9 million; the Optical Media Board, with P769.44 million; the Philippine National Police (PNP), with P172 million; and the Food and Drug Administration, with P27.26 million.
In April this year, the Philippines was stricken off the United States’ list of piracy hotspots after being on the watch list for 20 years, indicating the successful enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights in the country.
In a statement dated April 28, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said it had “determined to remove the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List,” as the country was able to enact “a series of significant legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines.”
The country’s authorities reportedly made laudable civil and administrative enforcement gains.
Although significant challenges remain, the commitment of Philippine authorities and the results merited the change in status.
The USTR created a so-called “Priority Watch List” and “Watch List” under the Special 301 provisions.
A trading country’s placement on the Priority Watch List or Watch List meant that particular problems exist in that country or economy with respect to intellectual property rights protection, enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property.
Trading partners on the Priority Watch List become the focus of increased bilateral attention in the area of intellectual property rights.
The Philippines was on the Watch List or Priority Watch List from 1994 to 2014.
Also earlier this year, the Philippines was removed from the US Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets for 2013, which “identified markets around the world that harm American businesses and undermine our workers, through the infringement of intellectual property rights.”
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