Officials at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the multinational consumer goods company Procter and Gamble (P&G) met in January 2023 to work jointly towards measures that would help business owners better protect their brands against intellectual property (IP) infringing activities.
Headlining the P&G delegates were Senior Vice President Shelley Duggan, Director and Assistant General Counsel Zaheera Hashin and Asia-Pacific Brand Protection Manager Laure Catoire.
The multinational corporation executives said that complaints against counterfeit P&G products remain on the rise, predominantly across online-selling platforms. They said these sites post poor-quality and recycled products with P&G labels, mostly affecting their soap and shampoo products.
They then called on the implementation of more stringent and efficient measures to combat the problem.
“[We can start by] maybe organizing a meeting with the concerned local government units and authorities on a mutual ground on how they can purposely and proactively monitor the online space,” Catoire said.
The IPOPHL officials welcomed the collaboration, noting that partnerships with big corporations such as P&G on this campaign is a positive development. Bureau of Trademarks Director Jesus Antonio Z. Ros pointed out that the fight against IP infringement in the digital space remains a significant challenge not only for the office, but more importantly for the brand owners incurring losses, hence the collaboration can be an off-shoot to more relevant resolutions and mechanisms.
“We all know it’s very challenging indeed to solve this problem, but we will be glad to listen and, perhaps, adopt your resolutions to minimize, if not eradicate, these types of violations on trademarks and other intellectual property rights on the internet,” Ros said.
For their part, the IPOPHL officials shared the office’s ongoing efforts under the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) – a 15-member interagency body in charge of strengthening the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the country.
“We have also established a takedown mechanism – wherein once a report on online infringement is substantiated and verified, the office can request the online platforms to immediately take down the listing,” said Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) Assistant Director Christine Canlapan, who is also the supervising director of the IP Rights Enforcement Office.
Prior to this, late last year, the European Commission released its Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, in which Baclaran and Divisoria markets, the Greenhills Shopping Center and the Cartimar Shopping Center were flagged for “offering a wide range of counterfeit goods on retail and wholesale basis, in particular shoes, with some stalls allegedly also running online shops offering counterfeit goods”.
In his earlier statement, IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba also vowed to help curb counterfeiting and piracy activities in the country and help businesses combat socio-economic ill-effects of IP infringement.
“Clamping down on IP violating activities will be proof of good governance and a strong will to implement the laws of the land,” Barba said.
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