The Philippines successfully stayed out of the US intellectual piracy watch list for five straight years.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said the country was not included in the latest Special 301 Report of the United States Trade Representative which identified economies with weak intellectual property rights enforcement.
“The enduring campaign drive of the Philippines in fighting counterfeiting and piracy is an effort that the United States, one of the Philippines’ largest trading partners, continues to recognize,” said IPOPHL director general Josephine Santiago.
“This bodes well for the country especially that at this time we have embarked on, and will continuously explore, innovative ways in introducing to the public the importance of intellectual property, in strengthening our engagement with stakeholders, and in the need to fight the proliferation and patronizing of fake products,” Santiago said.
“The message is clear and encouraging that we are going in the right direction,” she said.
The county was first listed in the USTR Special 301 Watch List in 1994, but was gradually eased out of its “Priority Watch List” category to the regular “Watch List” until it was finally removed in 2014.
The USTR’s Special 301 Report 2018 edition recognized the Philippines as among the countries with effective legislation against anti-camcording, along with Canada and Japan.
The report said the laws of some particular economies lacked the teeth to criminalize camcording activity.
The Anti-Camcording Act of the Philippines allows authorized persons, even without warrant and payment of admission fee or any charge, to enter and search any exhibition facility, seize any audiovisual recording device and detain any person if they have reasonable ground to believe that a violation under the law was being committed.
The report, however, mentioned the Philippines for reportedly having slow opposition proceedings in trademark protection.
Trademark opposition proceedings are administrative proceedings that can be filed in the Philippines, at the IPOPHL by any person who believes that he will be damaged by the registration of a mark.
Oppositions to applications for the registration of trademark or service mark and petitions to cancel the registrations of trademarks or service marks are designated by IPOPHL as inter-partes cases as opposed to intellectual property violations or infringement cases.
“Improvements in registration processes, adjudication and development of information on IPR, IPR protection and enforcement will continue with greater vigor buoyed and validated by assessments like the USTR Special 301 Report and the EU Assessment,” said IPOPHL’s enforcement activities deputy director general Teodoro Pascua,
“We enjoin our fellow Filipinos, especially the youth and the next generation to join the movement and actively participate in increasingly greater cadence for this culture of respect for IPR is not only to spur economic development but to bulld for them a better environment for a creative and innovative generation,” he said.
The Philippine government, through IPOPHL, submitted its comments to the USTR on Feb. 22, 2018, to report on ongoing initiatives on IPR protection, promotion and enforcement and the general state of the Philippine intellectual property system.
This was assessed and made the basis by which the USTR determined the country’s placement in the USTR Special 301 Watch List.