Sunday, September 23, 2012

Philippines seeks list of actions to get off the USTR PWL

The Philippines is extremely keen to get off the US Trade Representative's Special 301 Priority Watch List. Each year they have requested removal as the Philippines seeks to improve its IP system.

Now the Philippines IPO has in a rather clever move, asked the USTR to specify in concrete terms what the Philippines needs to accomplish to be removed from the list.  The Philippines Business Mirror news service reports that IPO Director General Ricardo Blancaflor has met officials from the USTR to discuss this. Blancaflor has said that they will agree a list of deliverables with the USTR. This is a smart approach.
The Philippines does have a reasonably efficient IP office, with  online systems. It has improved significantly in recent years. The Bureau of Legal Affair's administrative IP litigation system is also good. Many areas of legislation are in place - although the US has expressed some concerns about copyright and patent issues. These however are not always weakness, but often slightly contentious areas around medicines, digital rights etc.
But the real issue is that many of the areas of real concern around enforcement are not within the IPO's ambit. For example:
Criminal IP trials take up to a decade to complete - see here.
The IP Customs protection system is extremely weak with few
Civil litigation takes forever (thus the BLA's administrative IP litigation system)
IP Komodo hopes to see a discussion on the deliverables list covering all relevant areas.

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