5th Philippine IP Summit Draws Foreign & Local Experts, Stakeholders

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Newly appointed IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago welcomes guests and participants (above left); Justice Adolfo Azcuna delivers his keynote address (above right); and Deputy Director General Allan Gepty illustrates the State of Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Enforcement in the Philippines (below).

Drawing foreign and local intellectual property experts and stakeholders alike, the 5th Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit provided a venue for the participants to band together and address common cross-border IP issues.

Heavily discussed topics at the Summit were IP enforcement involving multiple jurisdictions, customs enforcement and enforcement on the Internet, particularly on the role and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries in counterfeiting and piracy.

“IP is a worldwide phenomenon and there’s a need for the countries to cooperate and get their acts together,” said the Summit keynote speaker Philippine Judicial Academy Chancellor and Retired Associate Justice Adolfo Azcuna. The Academy is the agency mandated to train Philippine judges on new legal topics such as IP enforcement.

Within the judiciary, he said, the institution is working hard to address the long-standing problem of delay in the disposition of cases which can also affect the prosecution of IP cases. 

Newly-appointed Director General of the IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL)Atty. Josephine R. Santiago remarked that the adoption of the “Building Cooperation Across Borders” theme for this year’s Summit is timely amid the rise of more cross-border and complex IP cases.

“Cases are also no longer confined to the physical space of country borders, but extend to the virtual space of the Internet as well. Globally, we now hear more complex IP cases, to include the parallel import of drugs, domain name disputes, imports and exports of infringing goods and the IP infringement on the Internet,” she said in her speech.

The Philippines, with its long and porous sea borders, needs to strengthen its customs enforcement. It’s estimated that almost 80% of the counterfeit and pirated goods circulating in the country enter through customs. Some of these items such as counterfeit medicines and fake gadgets, pose health and safety risks.

“Strengthening our customs cooperation, especially with our neighboring countries, will enhance our position as a business hub, especially now that global businesses are shifting their focus and investments to the smaller, rapidly growing, but competent economies,” added Atty. Santiago.

In his report on the state of IP protection and enforcement, IPOPHL Deputy Director General Atty. Allan Gepty said that, by and large, the Philippines has made significant inroads in IP protection and enforcement. It has passed all the necessary IP regulations and got started in laying down institutional framework and programs to enhance IP awareness, utilization and commercialization. The Philippines was removed from the United States Trade Representative Special 301 IP Watch List in 2014 after two decades on the list.

The next step, he said, is for the Philippines to make a mark in the area of IP utilization to allow both the IP owners and the public to benefit more from the IP system.

Foreign speakers who shared country and industry experiences and trends related to cross-border IP enforcement include Mr. Hideyuki Morooka of the Japan Patent Office; Mr. Nam Ngo Thien, IPR Attaché for South-East Asia of the Embassy of France in Singapore; Mr. Louis Bonnier and Atty. Jean-Pierre Maeder of the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP); Mr. Cha Tae-won of the Korean Copyright Commission; Mr. Man F. Tse of the National Intellectual Property Rights Center, USA; and Mr. Ignacio de Medrano Caballero of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).

The Summit also featured the awarding of this year’s IP Champions, a recognition given to the partner individuals and institutions in IP enforcement of the NCIPR and saw the oath-taking of the newest batch of the Young IP Advocates, an annual IP workshop for students from selected secondary schools.

The Summit was held last 26 October in a hotel in Pasay City.

 

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