Sunday, September 18, 2011

Philippines trademark counterfeiting in the luxury sector


The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports an increase in counterfeit Hermes products at the Greenhills Shopping Center in Manila. (IP Komodo hasn’t shopped there for a couple of years now, but knows it as the biggest retail centre of pirated copyright articles and counterfeit trademarked goods in Manila). The news report indicated that Louis Vuitton products formerly widely sold at the centre are on the decrease.   

In a report to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPH), Louis Vuitton representatives noted a 60 percent drop in counterfeit sightings. The IPOPH is apparently monitoring the sale of counterfeits at the Center, after 22 brand owners filed complaints with the IPOPH in 2010. The complaint led to the removal of all counterfeit items bearing the brand owners’ marks, including Gucci, Nike, Montblanc, Puma, and Lacoste. According to the IPOPH, stall owners are replacing Louis Vuitton counterfeits with Hermes products now.  

The IPOPH has started to take more active involvement in the issue of counterfeiting and piracy following industry desperation and complaints at the inefficiencies of the enforcement system (see here).  The IPOPH has in some cases (presumably as in the above) taken on the role of coordinating enforcement. They manage the process, including briefing the Police or NBI to obtain the search warrants and conduct the raids. But based on IP Komodo's experience, the IPOPH is going to have some problems handling these agencies, and cases IPOPH have so far started are running very slowly. But at retail level this may be the only cost effective solution.    

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