Monday, April 27, 2015

Philippines enforcement - the role of the National Committee on IP Rights

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The establishment in the Philippines of the multi-agency intellectual property taskforce, the National Committee on IP Rights (NCIPR), is proving very helpful to IPR holders in conducting enforcement.

The difficulties in enforcement in the Philippines are well known. Various requirements make raids time consuming, difficult and expensive – liaising with an enforcement body e.g. the Police, NBI, asking a court to issue a search warrant, executing the search warrant, etc.
In the past months the NCIPR has spearheaded numerous raid and similar actions to enforce IP rights. Recently, the NCIPR conducted movie house inspections in SM Manila as part of a campaign against movie piracy. This is just the first of a series of movie house inspections planned by the NCIPR. The NCIPR aims to engage movie house administrators into a dialogue to improve efforts against movie piracy. The NCIPR team was comprised of representatives from the Intellectual Property Office, the Optical Media Board (in charge of promoting/enforcing rights relating to optical media, such as copyrighted films in DVD formats), Department of Justice IPR Taskforce (in charge of prosecuting criminal cases), the National Bureau of Investigation’s IPR Department, the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

On the trademark side the NCIPR has been equally active. A series of raid actions against warehouses in Tondo and Binondo in Manila were conducted in the last quarter of 2014 that resulted in the seizure of various counterfeit apparel, perfumes, smartphones, electronic gadgets and accessories worth at least P570-Million.

Other agencies that are members of the NCIPR that can be involved in similar enforcement actions are the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Telecommunications Commission, National Book Development Board and the Food and Drugs Administration.
The NCIPR thus provides an opportunity for IP holders to reach out to the concerned government agency that can directly help in addressing their IP problems. This is a welcome alternative to having to do your own government legwork.

The NCIPR is the brainchild of the Intellectual Property Office and is an example of how a country's national IP office can take on the multi-agency problem of IP enforcement and provide a usable solution.

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