Friday, October 23, 2015

Online liability for ISPs in the Philippines

Image result for lazada logo 
Etude House is a Korean cosmetics brand. It launched in the Philippines in 2009 through a distributor called Rosa Fiore House Corporation and has 40 stores in the country.  

The Philippines distributor has filed criminal charges against the online shopping site Lazada over the online sale of fake products online. Rocket Internet owns Lazada, which is one of the largest B2C eCommerce markets in South East Asia.

Rosa Fiore issued a Facebook post saying that they had filed criminal charges against officers of for IP infringement under the Intellectual Property Code. "We have not consented to any sale of such products by and and is not in any way connected with the website and therefore cannot guarantee the authenticity and/or genuineness of the product sold by the said website," they said. The case was filed at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati in Central Manila.

In a separate statement, Lazada said it has removed the trader which sold the fake Etude House products. They apparently investigated the counterfeit allegations raised. They had concluded there were questions around the authenticity of the offerings, so "the merchant has been promptly removed," the company said.  Lazada also assured its customers that feedback regarding products is taken seriously. They have a "zero tolerance policy towards non-compliant sellers." Their policy includes investigating merchants, removal of products and a money back return policy.  

It is perhaps an aggressive step, but Philippines law on this is not settled. No clear secondary liability structure exists in the IP Code to make online platforms liable for trademarks, unlike for copyright. As this is a criminal case, it is unlikley to proceed or reach trial any time soon.

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