A report by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) cited the Philippines as a significant force and model of success in the ASEAN region in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, thanks to the work of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the 15-member National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR).
As evidence of success, the report noted that the Philippines has remained off the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Watchlist since 2014 – for eight consecutive years. The Philippines was also not listed in the European Union’s 2022 Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List. The effectiveness of the NCIPR is evidenced by a significant increase in seizures. Over a 10-year period from 2008 to 2018, the value of seized counterfeit goods grew by an average of 55% annually,” read the report
TRACIT is an independent private sector initiative to drive change to mitigate the economic and social damages of illicit trade by strengthening government enforcement mechanisms and mobilizing businesses across industry sectors most impacted by illicit trade
Building on site blocking success
The TRACIT report also recognized the launch of IPOPHL’s site-blocking rules, which were the outcome of years of consultative work with local internet service providers (ISPs) and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC)
Earlier in November, IPOPHL announced a parternship with the World Intellectual Property Organization, to gain access to WIPO’s Alert Data Sharing Platform, which offers a list of internationally known pirated websites and could enhance IPOPHL’s site-blocking process. With the Philippines onboard the platform, IPOPHL gains intelligence on all the websites which other WIPO member states reasonably suspect and enlist as intellectual property (IP) infringing.
IPOPHL can also contribute to the inventory of so-called “sites of concern” by uploading its own “national list.” The Office is tasked to promptly update this list to remove any web address which is not justified to be of concern or has ceased to be so.
Piracy in the Philippines
The report makes reference to a 2022 YouGov Piracy Landscape Survey commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (AVIA-CAP) which found that 61 percent of Filipinos consume pirated content, with 44 percent consuming it through social media and messaging apps.
PH cited as regional leader in the fight against counterfeiting, piracy. Press release. November 20, 2023. IPOPHL (Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines)
Fighting Fakes, Contraband and Illicit Trade: Spotlight on the Philippines. Report. October 2023. The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT)
IPOPHL gains access to international piracy site list to strengthen site blocking review. Press release. November 2, 2023. IPOPHL (Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines)
Why it matters
IPOPHL had led the ASEAN’s Working Group on IP Cooperation (AWGIPC) and accelerated the accomplishment of the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan (AIPRAP) 2016-2025 despite the pandemic, according to an IPOPHL press release.
Signed last September by the Director General, the site-blocking mechanism went into effect on November 21, 2023. The mechanism is seen to address rampant piracy in the Philippines which ranked third in East and Southeast Asia in 2020 in terms of consumers admitting to visiting piracy websites.