Drawing foreign and local intellectual property experts and stakeholders alike, the 5th Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit provided a venue for the participants to band together and address common cross-border IP issues.
Heavily discussed topics at the event were IP enforcement involving multiple jurisdictions, customs enforcement and enforcement on the Internet, particularly on the role and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries in counterfeiting and piracy.
?IP is a worldwide phenomenon and there?s a need for the countries to cooperate and get their acts together,? said the keynote speaker Philippine Judicial Academy Chancellor and retired Supreme Court associate justice Adolfo Azcuna. The Academy is the agency mandated to train Philippine judges on new legal topics such as IP enforcement.
Within the judiciary, he said, the institution is working hard to address the long-standing problem of delay in the disposition of cases which can also affect the prosecution of IP cases.
Newly appointed director general of the IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Josephine R. Santiago remarked that the adoption of the ?Building Cooperation Across Borders? theme for this year?s summit is timely amid the rise of more cross-border and complex IP cases.
?Cases are also no longer confined to the physical space of country borders, but extend to the virtual space of the Internet as well. Globally, we now hear more complex IP cases, to include the parallel import of drugs, domain name disputes, imports and exports of infringing goods and the IP infringement on the Internet,? she said in her speech.
The Philippines, with its long and porous sea borders, needs to strengthen its customs enforcement, according to Santiago. It?s estimated that almost 80% of the counterfeit and pirated goods circulating in the country enter through customs. Some of these items such as counterfeit medicines and fake gadgets, pose health, and safety risks, she said.
?Strengthening our customs cooperation, especially with our neighboring countries, will enhance our position as a business hub, especially now that global businesses are shifting their focus and investments to the smaller, rapidly growing, but competent economies,? added Santiago.
In his report on the state of IP protection and enforcement, IPOPHL deputy director general Allan Gepty said that, by and large, the Philippines has made significant inroads in IP protection and enforcement.
Gepty said the country has passed all the necessary IP regulations and got started in laying down institutional framework and programs to enhance IP awareness, utilization and commercialization.
The Philippines was removed from the United States Trade Representative Special 301 IP Watch List in 2014 after two decades on the list.
The next step, he said, is for the Philippines to make a mark in the area of IP utilization to allow both the IP owners and the public to benefit more from the IP system.
The summit also featured the awarding of this year?s IP Champions, a recognition given to the partner individuals and institutions in IP enforcement of the NCIPR and saw the oath-taking of the newest batch of the Young IP Advocates, an annual IP workshop for students from selected secondary schools.