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Biz groups urge to amend E-Commerce MOU

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As the e-Commerce industry in the Philippines posts robust growth, several companies and industry groups that are members of the E-Commerce Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)—facilitated by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL)—are pushing to amend the terms of the MOU to factor in the broader objectives of the Internet Transactions Act (ITA) for a fairer and safer online space.

The call was made at the 4th Annual Review and Assessment of the E-Commerce MOU held on May 31, 2024 and attended by over 14 members. The E-Commerce MOU aims to develop efficient takedown mechanisms by strengthening coordination between brandowners and e-commerce platform-members Lazada, Shopee, TikTok Shop and Zalora. 

At present, members are looking at two ways to expand the MOU. One approach is by putting in place measures that strictly observe existing policy prohibiting prescription drugs from being made available for purchase online. Another approach is enabling deeper collaboration with more law enforcement agencies by putting the 15-member National Committee on IP Rights officially on-board the E-Commerce MOU.

Some members at the meeting also hope to finetune the E-Commerce MOU to standardize their methods and metrics in searching counterfeit items. Brand owners also raised concerns about repeat infringers and increasingly creative circumvention tactics which allow counterfeiters to dodge detection from platforms’ keyword search operations. 

IPOPHL said the agency will help the group explore how to best operationalize the E-Commerce MOU, taking into account the comments to be formally submitted by the members once the ITA’s IRR takes effect. 

Representatives of TikTok Shop, Shopee and Lazada, who participated in the review, committed to maintain the collaboration and explore new ways to continue creating a safe space for brands and consumers online. 

The decision on the new terms will be made on the basis of a consensus among all members. 

Deputy Director General Nathaniel S. Arevalo said “the commitment everyone has shown to explore new terms shows the positive outcomes members have gained from the MOU and the stronger desire to make more strides in tightening collaboration and coordination between platforms and brand owners.”

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