IPOPHL seizes P24.6B in counterfeit goods in 2021

The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), which the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) leads as acting Chair, has recorded its biggest seizure of counterfeit goods in its 13 years of strengthening enforcement in the country amid increased efforts and improved strategy.

Preliminary data show that the 13-member committee hauled P24.9 billion worth of counterfeit goods seized from its inspection and raid operations last year. This surpasses the P23.6-billion worth of counterfeit goods in 2018.

“We attribute our record seizure to increased efforts and unwavering commitment of the NCIPR, given that this record was achieved even with pandemic restrictions. We also strategized on directing our efforts to the ‘bigger fish’ by targeting wholesale suppliers, large warehouses and logistics centers in various cities which proved to be hotspots for counterfeit goods,” Barba said in a press conference IPOPHL held last Feb. 24.

He added that the committee is currently working closely with local government units (LGUs) to help them institutionalize an Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Piracy Policy, which can ensure the strict implementation of the IP Code and foster a culture of fair business practices and respect for IP rights at the local level.

Barba said IPOPHL met recently with Makati City government representatives and is planning to soon meet with San Juan City government representatives to address long-standing issues of its Greenhills Mall, which was again flagged in the United States Trades Representatives’ Notorious Markets List 2021.

“We are also establishing stronger coordination processes with these LGUS. With an early notification and more information, the NCIPR can better prevent these illegal goods from getting into the hands of consumers and help IP right holders take action against violators,” Barba added.

The 2021 haul is also higher by 110% than the P9.8 billion in 2020, showing a return to normal of raid operations and search. In 2021, NCIPR secured 324 search warrants compared to only 109 in the previous year.

Based on initial reports, cigarettes and alcohol made up the bulk, followed by handbags and wallets and footwear products.

The NCIPR is an interagency body that formulates and implements plans and policies, as well as strengthens the protection and enforcement of IP rights in the country.

Aside from IPOPHL, the NCIPR is composed of 13 other members, namely the Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Justice; Department of Information and Communications Technology; Bureau of Customs; Food and Drug Administration; National Bureau of Investigation; Philippine National Police; Optical Media Board; National Book Development Board; Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime; Department of the Interior and Local Government; National Telecommunications Commission. (IPOPHL)