starts coordination with mall to stamp out counterfeiting
CALOOCAN CITY, (PIA) --The 15-member National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), led by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) as acting chair, seized on Monday P63 million worth of possible counterfeit goods in the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City.
The operation, spearheaded by NCIPR member National Bureau of Investigation, led to the haul of 755 pieces of fake Louis Vuitton products.
The activity is part of the NCIPR's commitment to remove Greenhills from the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) list of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy. The shopping center is the lone market in the country to be in the list.
“Unless drastically changed, Greenhill’s reputation as a go-to for fake goods will damage our country’s reputation, eventually affecting our economic interests in the US and other trading partners that highly value intellectual property (IP) protection,” IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said.
Following the operation, the NCIPR also met with officials of Greenhills’ management group to discuss and explore collaborative steps to wipe out counterfeit selling activities in its halls.
Greenhills’ External Affairs Head and Legal Manager Atty. Isagani I. Elacio assured that the group will coordinate with the Committee for further action plans.
Aware of the company’s perception among enforcement groups and its negative standing in USTR reviews, Elacio has offered to provide an in-site office for NCIPR member staff to help educate Greenhills tenants and enforce IP rights protection.
Also present at the meeting was a representative from the US Embassy to help clarify the USTR report and provide full support to NCIPR efforts.
The NCIPR, along with Greenhills’ management, is expected to hold more action plan meetings to respond to the growing counterfeit sales, Pascua said at a press conference IPOPHL held last April 4.
One of the 35 physical markets the USTR identified as notorious for counterfeits in 2021, Greenhills has long been on the list for selling fake electronics, perfumes, watches, shoes, accessories and fashion items.
The NCIPR has heightened its watch on Greenhills especially with the latest USTR report finding that counterfeit sellers in the mall are becoming more open with their illicit trade.
To address the counterfeiting activities in Greenhills, IPOPHL has established a Technical Working Group (TWG) within the NCIPR. The TWG will soon be meeting with the local government of San Juan to explore collaborative work in stamping out counterfeiting city-wide.
Fighting counterfeiting down to barangays
IPOPHL’s Pascua is also pushing each barangay and city to create and implement an Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Piracy Policy (ACAP) in compliance with the Memorandum Circular No. 2020-124 on IP protection issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), an NCIPR member.
The DILG circular, aims to enjoin all provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, to issue an ordinance banning the sale, transfer, manufacture and/or production of pirated, counterfeit and fake goods, as well as observe Optical Media Board rules.
“One thing we look forward to from this Circular is speeding up the process in enforcement. The frontline here is really in the local government, down to the barangays,” Pascua added, emphasizing that officials at this level can denormalize the sale of fakes in local shops and “tianges”.
Malabon and Muntinlupa are among the first few cities to implement their ACAPs soon. In the following months, IPOPHL will be reaching out to the cities of Baguio and Cebu to help them develop their Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Policies.
“We will take the next step not just in Greenhills but in all other malls we have already observed violating Intellectual Property Rights. We will bring this up to their management. We will ask them to help us, not to threaten them but to help us in stamping [counterfeiting and piracy] out,” Pascua added.
In 2021, the NCIPR Agencies made a record-high haul of counterfeit and pirated goods worth P24.9 billion following increased raids amid the gradual return to normal of raid operations. (IPOPHL/PIA-NCR)