The Aquino administration announced on Saturday, May 2, that the Philippines remains off the US government’s list of countries with intellectual property issues.
“We got word that the US Trade Representative watch list, ‘yung Special 301 Report that they issue yearly, that the Philippines has stayed off the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) watch list,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.
Valte noted that the Philippines was removed from the watch list last year during the state visit of US president Barack Obama.
“It is good that we are not on the US Trade Representative’s watch list because its sends out a signal to other investors that we have a good business climate,” she told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
This will create the impression that the government takes every measure to protect intellectual property rights in the country, especially when investors do business in the Philippines, she explained.
Asked about what the government would do to stay out of the watch list, Valte said it has to continue adopting the best practices when it comes to intellectual property rights, such as the administrative enforcement reforms carried out by the country that have resulted in streamlined procedures, enhanced interagency cooperation, and more enforcement action, including increased seizures of pirated and counterfeit goods.
“And of course, we benefit from the assistance that was extended by the United States in terms of training funds from US government agencies for IPR enforcement and part of their technical assistance to foreign governments,” she said.
From 2013 to 2014, the Philippines was one of the countries that benefitted from the training spearheaded by the US for the Bureau of Customs, police, and officials in the judiciary, she said.
“We continue to avail of the technical assistance and then we continue to apply the best practices that we continue to learn from these measures,” she added.
She further said that the report had cited the country’s commitment to the whole government approach, not only the intellectual property office but also other stakeholders and law enforcement agencies.
The judiciary, she said, is an active participant in the country’s fight against counterfeit goods and piracy as it prosecutes violators of the Intellectual Property Code.
It was reported on Friday that the Philippines has, for the second year in a row, stayed out of the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report on the “adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners” protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The report, released in Washington D.C. on Thursday, covered 72 trading partners, 37 of whom were on the watch list.
According to the report, the Philippines was first tagged in 1989 and was on the watch list since 1994 but was removed from the list last year, with the US Trade Representative citing improved Philippine government commitment to protect IPR. — PIA