E-commerce platforms toughen crackdown on fake items

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — E-commerce platforms have heightened their takedown efforts against intellectual property (IP) rights infringers in line with an initiative being undertaken with brand owners to fight online piracy and counterfeiting.

In a statement, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said the landmark memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by  e-commerce platforms and brand owners last year to curb counterfeiting and piracy online has resulted in more aggressive efforts against infringers.

The IPOPHL said the e-commerce platforms and brands reported their achievements during the annual review of the MOU last May 12.

Jason Brasileno, head of business and enterprise risk at Lazada, said listings removed from their platform surged by 118 percent to 163,287 in March to April 2022, from 74,801 in August to September 2021.

Lazada also set up a trust-building awareness campaign to guarantee products being sold are legitimate.

Shopee public affairs manager Jaimmie Hans-Segovia said counterfeit and pirated product listings that were removed from the platform increased by more than 400 percent between August to September 2021 and March to April 2022.

Shopee also updated its IP process with tighter sanctions.

For her part, Samantha Poblacion, country legal counsel of Zalora, said there were zero incidents of IP infringement on the platform given its thorough onboarding process.

Nevertheless, the platform has a reporting mechanism and initiatives to educate consumers and merchants of its IP policy.

Apart from the e-commerce platforms, Solar Pictures, Golden ABC and Globe Telecom also reported achievements.

Mahar Sulayman Ibañez, film acquisitions head of Solar Pictures  said there was a 148 percent year-on-year increase in IP-infringing listings taken down by different platforms on the group’s request to protect its movies and content.

Since joining the MOU, Kristian Nico Acosta, legal manager for IP desk at Golden ABC, said more IP enforcement efforts were undertaken including an 83 percent hike in requests for takedowns.

For his part, Carlo Santos, head of analytics and intelligence for Globe’s corporate communications,  found over 1,600 posts infringing against the service provider last year, with almost 60 percent on fake broadband plans.

IPOPHL said the MOU signatories have recommended expanding the initiative by having more online platforms and rights holders join and establish an IP Code of Practice.

IPOPHL deputy director general Teodoro Pascua said the agency is actively campaigning to encourage more brand owners to join.

Other recommendations made by the signatories were the conduct of bilateral consultations between brand owners and online platforms; educating brands, sellers and online platforms on topics like platforms’ IP policy or brands’ product identification; sharing best practices; incorporating new terms like “non-ori” or “photocopied” to identify red flag listings; and addressing traceability concerns.

Pascua said the IPOPHL would continue to work with the signatories to ensure the continuity of the MOU.

“We do emphasize this cooperation among brand owners and online platforms established in the Philippines—and based on the MOU in the European Union—has been considered as a best practice and cited by various international institutions already. Hence, we hope to greatly benefit from this,” he said.

Trade Assistant Secretary and e-commerce lead Mary Jean Pacheco said inputs from the MOU review would be used by the agency as it crafts the E-Commerce Roadmap for  2023 to 2025.

“We want an e-commerce environment where all of you will flourish because at the end of the day we want the contribution of e-commerce in the country to grow exponentially,” she said.


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