Citing Big Strides, Philippines Seeks Removal from USTR IPO Watchlist

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has sought for its removal from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) watch list of intellectual property rights violators citing important strides in the government's concerted efforts at protecting IP rights.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) submitted its comments to the USTR as the US government agency starts its Special 301 review process. The USTR conducts an annual review of its Watch List to determine which countries are going to maintain its status, get delisted, or downgraded.

Based on its comments, the IPOPHIL stressed that the Philippines continued to intensify its holistic approach to fight counterfeiting and piracy in 2011.

"The protection of IPRs is and remains to be a major area of concern of the Philippine Government not just because the Special 301 Review process identifies countries where IPR infringement represents a barrier to trade, but more so because the war against piracy and counterfeiting is a war against poverty and unemployment of most Filipinos. It is also a campaign to boost the country's competitiveness towards economic development," part of the IPOPHIL comment stated.

To promote and heighten public awareness on the grave effects of counterfeiting and piracy on the economy, public welfare, health, and safety, the first-ever Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit was held in October 2011.

Organized together with members of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the US State Department, the IPR Business Partnership, and the International Trademark Association (INTA), the summit resulted to the submission of a 2012-2016 Philippine Action Plan on IPR Protection and Enforcement was presented to the Office of the President (OP).

The enhanced enforcement of IPR laws has resulted in the NCIPR an unprecedented seizure of P8,384,994,228.00 value of seized counterfeit and pirated goods from January to December 2011. This is a 58.33% increase compared to the 2010 seizure of P5,295,596,875.50.

In 2011, there was also an increased involvement of other government agencies, in the campaign against counterfeiting and piracy. …