Sunday, June 17, 2012

Statistics in the Philippines

Governments love to report how effective they are at fighting counterfeiting and piracy by reference to ever increasing quantities of seizures. So the Philippines government announced last week that its agencies in charge of fighting IPR violation seized P2.1 billion worth of fake products in the first five months of 2012. The Bureau of Customs accounted for almost half of the sum, with the Optical Media Board at a quarter, and the rest split between the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police. Overall the IPO said this was a 58 increase on 2010.

IP Komodo views figures like this with skepticism. Firstly everyone knows that seizures are the tip of the iceberg. Secondly anyone with any knowledge of IP enforcement in the Philippines knows that Customs seizures occur mainly inland not at the border and are largely ineffective. And thirdly because the enforcement authorities generally are extremely hard to work with in the Philippines, most IP holders do very little enforcement. So these figures in fact are more likely to represent an increase in the overall scale of counterfeiting and piracy in the Philippines, with the authorities just catching a slice of an ever growing pie.

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