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Netizens join IPOPHL in fighting counterfeiting and piracy

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) received 151 counterfeiting and piracy reports from consumers and complaints from rights holders in 2021, surpassing the previous record-high of 121 in 2020 and registering a 25% year-on-year increase.

Netizens, accounting for 113 or 75% of reporting and complaint filings, contributed the most to the new record, followed by IPOPHL’s own monitoring and referrals from other government agencies (29 or 19%), and intellectual property (IP) rights holders (nine or 6%), according to data from the IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO).

Counterfeiting garnered a total of 114 reports and complaints, making up for 75% of the total. Apparel items remained to be the most counterfeited as it accounted for 85 counts or 75%. Perfume and beauty products followed with a total of eight counts (7%), next to five of pharmaceutical and medical products (4%) and five of other items, such as umbrellas and keychains (4%).

On piracy, the IEO received 37 reports and complaints. General and educational books and e-books accounted for 49% with 18 counts. Software and TV shows/movies were the next most sold or shared illegally online, with each having nine records and a 24% share to the total piracy count. 

Piracy and counterfeiting continued to rage in the online space as 136 or 90% of the 2021 reports and complaints noted that the violations took place in e-commerce platforms, social media and other websites. 

Facebook remained at the center of alleged IP violations, as shown in 87 records focused online. It was followed by Shopee with 27 reports or complaints; Lazada with 10; Instagram with four; and Carousell with two.

“We are inspired to see the online community continuing to take charge in creating a more alert IP environment amid rising demand for content and renewed consumer appetite. The surge of counterfeiting and piracy reports since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has then been met with our stronger IP awareness and enforcement efforts to counter this trend. The active support of netizens in combating IP violations is a concrete result of our efforts,” IEO Officer-in-Charge Ann N. Edillon said.

“We encourage IP rights holders to take advantage of IP protection features on online platforms to discover more strategic ways to counter IP violations,” Edillion added. 

In the event that online IP protection features cannot resolve the IP rights holder’s issues, a formal complaint can be filed at IPOPHL for further assessment and an issuance of an enforcement order from the IEO or a restraining order from the Bureau of Legal Affairs. 

Edillon noted that the IEO welcomes reports through its e-mail (operations@ipophil.gov.ph), mobile number (+639950220522) and Facebook Page.

“Although netizens have given us a boost in IP rights awareness through their reports, there is still much to be done to safeguard IPs in e-commerce and social media sites. We must fortify our efforts to combat fakes and piracy online, considering the steady role of online activities in reopening the economy.” Director General Rowel S. Barba said.

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