The Judiciary and the Protection of Intellectual Property rights.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, June 27, 2002 | Go to article overview

The Judiciary and the Protection of Intellectual Property rights.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


(Speech delivered by Senior Associate Justice JOSUE N. BELLOSILLO, Acting Chief Justice, as Keynote Speaker, on 17 June 2002 at the Judicial Workshop for Judges and Judicial Administrators held at the Manila Diamond Hotel, Manila, 17-19 June 2002.)

THE thawing of the Cold War in the 80s' put an end to the bipolarization of the geopolitical regime and superpower rivalry which dominated international politics in the second half of the 20th century. But convulsive and historic as the event was, the shift in the geopolitical space has diverted our attention to a more profound restructuring of the international order - the dramatic reorganization of the modern political paradigm ignited by the process of "globalization" that is inexorably creeping before us. Globalization seems to have wrought havoc to the traditional or Westphalian norms upon which the interstate system is conducted, i.e., a political order clearly delineated into territorial, bounded, sovereign political entities or nationstates. It has blurred, if not obliterated, the "boundedness" and hitherto impermeable character of national boundaries as economic, political and social activities began to transcend territorial borders. Rather than a world order composed of 190 nation-states, globalization has fashioned a more complex architecture of political power and space. Territorial boundaries seem to have become more insignificant insofar as human activity is concerned and relations no longer stop - if they ever did - at the water edge.

Today, trade, finance, knowledge, people, images and communications, as well as crimes, pollutants, drugs, fashions, cultures and beliefs almost instantaneously shuttle to and fro across national borders. The global condition has evolved from limited interaction between largely discreet world civilizations to a singlestate system which constitutes, for humanity, the key organizing principle of modern political life.

The past few years have seen emerging global, regional and national trends at a remarkable pace affecting the exercise of judicial power. Interdependence between and among countries has become more and more pronounced while international agreements and practices have defined the norms and standards in our national or local levels. Technological innovations exemplified by the Internet and satellite communications have facilitated the almost instantaneous transmittal of properties, goods and business decisions.

The present economic necessity brought about by geopolitical expediency has forced nations to modify border controls in both customs and immigration. Driven by market expansion, today's globalization has opened national borders to trade, capital and information, outpacing policies, governance and enforcement of laws enacted for those markets. The unprecedented global movement of credit, goods and people has challenged the enforcement capabilities of governments and courts, and has forced us to review our traditional and conventional understanding as well as the definition of territoriality, jurisdiction and even sovereignty.

The advent of globalization, as it is, is a Janus-faced phenomenon: it has brought "advancement" to mankind by creating a global civil society founded on interdependence and cooperation; it has also caused the emergence and facilitated downright the crossborder or transnational crimes involving customs, immigration, drugs, terrorism, and the subject of our present judicial workshop - crimes involving intellectual property rights.

Although intellectual property piracy has not received the same media coverage and public attention as the other sensational interterritorial crimes, it must nonetheless be addressed by enforcement authorities to ensure the well being of the public and protect private rights. I should known because even my own book, Effective Pre-Trial Technique, a modest volume of some 900 pages published ten (10) years ago, is being photocopied, I was told, and sold openly by unscrupulous individuals, in flagrant violation of my copyright.

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