Dramatic Improvements in IP Protection in the Philippines
The combined efforts of government and private sector have improved both IP protection and enforcement in the Philippines
The Philippine Government is proud of the steady progress that is being made in the development of the country’s intellectual property law and the overwhelmingly positive results that are being achieved in the fight against piracy and infringement.
The country’s IP system was considerably strengthened in 2013, with the introduction of the Republic Act No. 10372, which made material changes to the 1998 Intellectual Property Code. These changes included the creation of a Bureau of Copyright and an IPR Enforcement Office. The Philippine IP Office has subsequently established rules in accordance with the new law.
Following these legislative changes, a number of government agencies formed a strategic alliance, the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR),* and intensified their efforts to better protect IP rights and to combat piracy and infringement.
The work of the NCIPR agencies is producing overwhelmingly positive results.
This year, the Special 301 Report of the US Trade Representative finally removed the Philippines from the Watch List of countries that do not provide adequate and effective protection of IP rights. It had been on the List for two decades.
Official reports show that, for the first half of 2014 alone, the total value of seized counterfeit goods reached PHP7.744 billion (approx. US$1.775 million), almost equal to the value of goods seized during the whole of the previous year**. These seizures were largely the work of the following agencies:
- Bureau of Customs and National Bureau of Investigation - seizures valued at PHP4.144 billion;
- Optical Media Board - seizures valued at PHP599 milion;
- Philippine National Police - seizures valued at PHY83.790 million; and
- Food and Drug Administration - seizures valued at PHP18.825 million.
These achievements are a testament to the vigorous efforts of both the Philippine government and the private sector to raise IPR awareness, ensure that IPRs are fully respected and complied with, and improve enforcement procedures.
*Member agencies of the NCIPR include the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Intellectual Property Office (IPO), National Book and Development Board (NBDB), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), Office of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Special Envoy for Transnational Crime, Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
** The total value of confiscated goods for the years 2013 and 2012 was PHP7.839 billion and PHP5.222 billion respectively.