Reports of IP violations surge in 9 months

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Reports of intellectual property (IP) violations from consumers and rights holders in the nine months to September breached the total in 2015 to 2019, the  Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said.

IPOPHL received a total of 135 IP violation reports and complaints as of end-September, higher than the 129 received in the past five years.

Of the total reports received by the IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO), 108 or 80 percent have been disposed, while the remaining 27 are in different stages of validation.

Bulk or 38 percent involved IP infringement matters which include having similar marks or unauthorized use of copyright works, followed by counterfeit complaints at 32 percent and piracy at 30 percent.

For counterfeiting and piracy, most or 79 violators were operating online.

Facebook was the top platform being used for the alleged IP violations, as it accounted for 67 percent.

Shopee accounted for nine percent, while Lazada got eight percent, and YouTube had four percent.

Caroussell, Instagram and Vidyard each recorded one percent, while less popular websites got nine percent.

Given the surge in complaints amid the pandemic, IPOPHL director general Rowel Barba said there is a need for new rules for wider online monitoring authority and to prevent IP rights violators from selling products.

“IEO will soon forward to me the draft on its proposed updates to the 2013 rules and regulations on enforcement. We will finalize and issue the new rules as soon as practicable,” he said.

He said the primary goal of the revision is to add enforcement functions to the IEO such as including online counterfeiting and piracy in its coverage, coordinating with the National Telecommunications Commission to take down IP-rights offending posts and monitoring marketplaces proactively based on findings of the IPOPHL, and elevating issues found to IP rights owners.

At present, IPOPHL is being consulted in the creation of an agreement between e-commerce platforms and select rights holders for a protocol on removing posts when illicit content or products are sold or posted for sale on the online shopping sites.

“Specifically, through the agreement, a notice and takedown system and procedure will be developed by online platforms to more swiftly address reports on counterfeit goods and pirated materials being sold online. We hope it will be signed soon this year once the remaining issues are resolved,” Barba said.

In addition, IPOPHL supports the solidary liability which will make platforms and service providers accountable for infringing acts of sellers, being pushed in the Internet Transactions Bill or House Bill 6122.

“A strong support for solidary liability will all the more compel platforms to be more consumer and IP rights-friendly. We can calibrate it in the future but for now, especially with the exodus to e-commerce and the overwhelming data on deceptive practices sprawling in these platforms, a steadfast and strict position on their liability must be maintained,” IPOPHL deputy director general Teodoro Pascua said.

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