Philippines IP Office: ‘Our Meeting Is Not Fostering Corporate Greed’Published on 25 October 2011 @ 5:43 pm
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
The Philippines Intellectual Property Office today issued a statement in response to criticism that an IP enforcement meeting it is hosting this week with numerous corporate representatives “does not favor big corporations.”
Intellectual Property Watch published a story on this issue yesterday after criticism arose over World Intellectual Property Organization involvement in a meeting not on the WIPO calendar that appeared heavily weighted toward IP rights holders (IPW, Enforcement, 24 October 2011). Tech industry and consumer representatives said they were concerned about a lack of balance in the meeting.
“Strictly speaking, the workshops sponsored by these corporations will, of course, teach our law enforcement officers how to act in the interest of those business entities,” Ricardo R. Blancaflor, Director General of Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), said in the statement. “However, it is also true that these brands are the most pirated in the country. They have lost a lot of profits due to piracy.”
The Philippine statement also includes a comment from a local representative of Creative Commons.
The full IP Office statement is here:
“IPOPHL denies anti-piracy summit is fostering corporate greed
25 October 2011 – The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines today denounced reports that the on-going Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit favored big corporations.
The bulk of the summit included special sessions on identifying the fake versions of Swiss Watches, New Era Caps, Chanel, Colgate Palmolive, Philips, Beiersdorf AG, Hewlett Packard, Castrol, Pfizer, Puma, Louis Vuitton, Singer and Unilever.
The summit is held in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations agency in charge of intellectual property.
“Strictly speaking, the workshops sponsored by these corporations will, of course, teach our law enforcement officers how to act in the interest of those business entities,” observed Ricardo R. Blancaflor, Director General of Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). “However, it is also true that these brands are the most pirated in the country. They have lost a lot of profits due to piracy.”
Calls for moderation and balance in the enforcement agenda include Doctorow’s Creative Commons, whose Philippine branch is hosted by Arellano Law School. “Protecting foreign brands is ok, but not at the risk of overlooking Filipino brands. We should also promote Filipino brands as an alternative to expensive foreign brands,” said Creative Commons Philippines’ Bernie Guerrero.
Some measures initiated by the IPOPHL have been criticized as harsh yet ineffective.
In June this year, Mayor Lim of the City of Manila gave an ultimatum to vendors of pirated discs in Quiapo, mostly Muslim immigrants, to cease selling pirated goods at the risk of getting ejected from Quiapo, despite calls from multi-sectoral groups.
Earlier this year, the IPOPHL also started talks with what it termed as the ‘elusive’ management of the Greenhills Shopping Centre, demanding that it eject lessees selling pirated wares at the risk of having the mall/store owners’ US visa cancelled.
Despite this, IPOPHL Director General Ricardo R. Blancaflor maintained, “We are very confident that we will hit the 2009 record of seizing Php 5.6B worth of pirated goods.”
The increased number of fake items also denotes the increase in scope of pirate activities. Whereas before, pirated goods referred only to pirated discs, now the term includes counterfeit bags, watches, books, medicines, and consumer goods.”
William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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