P4.3B worth of counterfeit goods seized from January to September
MANILA, Philippines—The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), a multi-agency group tasked with enforcing IP laws, seized a total of P4.3 billion in counterfeit and pirated goods in the first nine months of 2011, bringing it closer to achieving this year’s target of P5.8 billion.
Ricardo Blancaflor, director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), a member-agency of NCIPR, said the fourth quarter was usually the busiest in terms of confiscation, as counterfeiters also took advantage of the holiday buying spree.
As of this week, he said total haul had already reached around P5 billion.
“I’m confident that we’ll hit our target for the year. We need just P800 million more, and there are usually a lot of seizures during the last part of the year,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.
More than the seizures, he said the NCIPR has been focusing more on preventive measures, such as tying up with local government units to help with enforcement.
In Manila, for example, Mayor Alfredo Lim implemented a campaign against pirated CDs and DVDs in Quiapo, one of those pinpointed by the United States Trade Representative Office as a piracy haven.
Blancaflor said this kind of partnership would be replicated in other LGUs. While no concrete partnerships had been forged as of the moment, IPOPHL has set up teams in Zamboanga and Olongapo to help with IP law enforcement in those areas.
IPOPHL also maintained constant communication with the management of the Greenhills Shopping Center, a favorite haunt of peddlers of counterfeit lifestyle products such as bags, shoes, and watches.
To date, 32 well-known brands – including the oft-copied Louis Vuitton – had submitted themselves for inclusion in IPOPHL’s counterfeit watchlist. Brands on this list are prevented from being sold at Greenhills stalls.
A similar arrangement was being fixed with 168 Mall in Manila, Blancaflor said, but mall management had yet to accept such a partnership.
The Philippine National Police, another member of the NCIPR, also conducted regular inspections of computer shops and computer schools to ensure that these used only licensed software, he related.
Apart from branded goods and software, he said the NCIPR was also stepping up its enforcement of IP laws in the pharmaceutical sector. This was particularly crucial as people could suffer dire consequences and even die from using counterfeit medicine.
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