IPOPHL and motorcycle industry gear up vs counterfeit motor vehicles and parts

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) signed last November 11 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA) in a bid to curb the sale of counterfeit motorcycles and parts and raise awareness on their threats to the lives of all road users.

The agreement marks a renewal of IPOPHL and the MDPPA’s partnership which was first inked in 2011. The previous MOA resulted in successful nationwide awareness initiatives for consumers and capacity-building activities that helped enforcement authorities identify fake motor vehicles and parts more easily.

Under the renewed partnership, IPOPHL and the MDPPA enhanced their collaboration with the commitment to exchange statistics and other vital information to improve enforcement operations and enable the tracking of counterfeit motor vehicles and parts that enter and exit the country’s borders.

Terms on raising public awareness and providing capacity-building and technical assistance for the swift seizure of potentially counterfeit motorcycles and related goods were retained.

“IPOPHL commends the MDPPA’s unwavering commitment to intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement. Counterfeit motor vehicles and parts do not pass any form of quality and safety checks. As such, their use endangers the lives of all road users, many of whom simply wish to arrive home safely to their families after a long day at work,” Director General Rowel S. Barba said.

The IPOPHL chief reiterated the organization’s lobby to amend the IP Code. Amendments to the 1997 law, which include doubling penalties to perpetrators of counterfeiting and piracy activities that pose danger to life and health, “could intensify enforcement and help drive away IP violators,” according to Barba.

Bills pending in Congress that intend to amend the IP Code include House Bills 1597, 8062 and 8620.

“Counterfeit products also tarnish the reputation of motorcycle industry players who have been building a respectable position for the Philippines in the region. Such could derail the motorcycle industry’s development and steady recovery from the pandemic,” Barba added.

The International Motorcycle Manufacturers’ Association (IMMA), in its May 2019 compendium for safe motorcycling, emphasized the importance of enforcement measures and public awareness campaigns in arresting the marketing, sale and use of IP-infringing motor vehicles and parts.

The IMMA noted that the most commonly counterfeited spare parts are those which are fast moving in the aftermarket and those which are frequently replaced, such as filters, spark plugs, brake pads, clutches, suspension items and electrical items, among others.

The MDPPA is one of the local motorcycle manufacturers association recognized by the Board of Investments under the Motor Vehicle Development Program. It is mandated to promote and enhance the capabilities of local manufacturing firms of built-up motorcycle units, including their parts and components, to be competitive in the local and export markets.

Comprising the biggest local motorcycle brands, namely Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, the MDPPA accounts for 0.7% of the country’s GDP and contributes P4 billion annually to national tax revenues.