Home Ed. 2019 April Amendments to Intellectual Property Code pushed

Amendments to Intellectual Property Code pushed

Josephine R. Santiago – Director General IPOPHL

MANILA – With fake news and copyrights infringements progressively soaring high, agencies concerned have taken measures to address and arrest their surge and protect legitimate rights.

Facebook is currently on a rampage to take down dubious accounts and consciously manipulative fake news, while the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) seeks amendments to the country’s Intellectual Property (IP) Code to strengthen patent and copyright protection.

In a draft bill submitted to Congress seeking to amend the IP Code, IPOPHL has proposed key amendments and legal mechanisms that will enable the agency to take down online sites with IP rights violations, and encourage copyright owners to claim damages from infringers.

IPOPHL director general Josephine Santiago said among the amendments being pushed is for the “IPOPHL to be given the authority to issue ‘notice and takedown’ to address online counterfeiting and piracy.

To teach violators lessons from their infringement initiatives, Santiago said IPOPHL also recommends an amendment that entitles copyright owner “not just to damages in terms of ad revenues earned by the infringing site, but to ownership of the domain name of the infringing site as well.”

“Strong remedial measures like these may hopefully embolden copyright owners to really plant their feet and pursue these infringers and pirates,” she added.

Under its draft bill, now denominated as House Bill 9148, IPOPHL also proposes to institutionalize the National Committee on IP Rights (NCIPR) as a permanent unit with a dedicated representative in each of the agencies.

The NCIPR includes representatives from IPOPHL, Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Customs, Philippine National Police, Optical Media Board, National Telecommunications Commission, National Book Development Board, Food and Drug Administration, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

To facilitate the prosecution of IP cases filed in courts, Santiago said the IPOPHL’s alternative dispute resolution service could be utilized, pointing out their agency’s arbitration service is a faster and more cost-effective alternative to the resolution of IP counterfeit cases. Last year, counterfeit items seized by the NCIPR hit an all-time high of P23.6 billion, decidedly much higher than the P8.2 billion worth of goods seized in 2017.

Of the P23.6 billion haul, 86 percent equivalent to P20.3 billion were accounted for by counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol. Only recently, the NCIPR destroyed P65 million worth of pirated and counterfeit goods to highlight the National IPR Month celebration this April.