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Alliance to fight counterfeiting in PH

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Alliance to fight counterfeiting in PH

E-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with several global and local brand owners and industry-associations to fight online counterfeiting and piracy.

Companies that signed the MoU include Unilever Philippines Inc., GlaxoSmithKline Philippines Inc., GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Philippines Inc., Globe Telecom Inc., Castrol Ltd., American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Philippine Retailers Association.

“This MoU establishes a code of practice among online marketplaces, as well as an efficient notice and takedown procedure, to intensify our fight against the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet. This is especially crucial with counterfeit and piracy complaints and reports surging to a record-high last year,” said Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (Ipohl) Director General Rowel Barba.

Last year, Ipohl received 121 reports and complaints, the highest since the establishment of the IP Rights Enforcement Office in 2013.

About 90 percent of the total alleged violations were said to be conducted online.

“With harmonized procedures and deeper ties with platforms, IP right holders are better able to notify e-commerce and request for swift actions necessary to prevent counterfeiters and copyright pirates from making a sale,” Barba said.

Under the MoU, Lazada and Shopee commit to deal with notifications in “a time-efficient and comprehensive manner.”

Both platforms also commit to ensure that their processes in validating complaints “will not lead to an unreasonable or undue delay” in the removal of the notified ad, post or offer, with platforms having the option to implement other deterrent measures against the infringers.

For their part, brand owners commit to use the notice and takedown system established by online platforms and to take commercially reasonable steps to effectively fight counterfeiting at its source.

Ipophl said the MoU is a result of its collaboration with the British Embassy under the UK Prosperity Fund Asean Economic Reform Program. Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“This e-commerce MOU, which serves as an industry-wide online code of conduct, is a notable culmination of the strong commitment from both government and industry stakeholders to the promotion and protection of IP rights in the country, particularly in the online domain,” UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said.

“Through our Prosperity Fund Asean Economic Reform programme, the UK is a proud partner of this initiative – one of the first in the region – to enable a transparent, efficient and secure e-commerce community made all the more relevant in the current Covid-19 economic recovery,” Pruce added.

Consulting firm UK Rouse, through its Philippine partner Baranda & Associates, was tapped to provide technical guidance in the crafting of the MoU.