IPOPHL throws support behind bill protecting online shoppers

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The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has expressed support for House Bill 6122 or the proposed Internet Transactions Act as it would help the agency perform its mandate to protect intellectual property rights.

“Pursuant to the IPOPHL’s mandate to administer and implement state policies on IP (intellectual property) to strengthen protection of IP rights in the country, the IPOPHL endorses the HB No. 6122 and the creation of an e-Commerce Bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry,” IPOPHL director-general Rowell Barba said in a hearing at the House on Thursday, June 11.

Barba said enacting the bill into law would also protect consumers from buying counterfeit goods sold online. “There is also a growing concern about the proliferation of counterfeits in social media platforms, such as Facebook,” he added.

Barba cited a report from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicating that although e-commerce has supported many legitimate businesses, it has also become a platform for trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods.

He added that sellers of illicit goods have a relatively low risk of facing criminal prosecution or civil liability by selling their products online.

“Hence, e-Commerce platforms need to take additional actions to combat trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods and reduce, if not eliminate, the availability of such goods on their platforms,” Barba said.

During the House hearing, he said top best practices listed by the DHS in its “Combat Trafficking In Counterfeit and Pirated Goods” report can also be adopted by the House Committee on Trade to improve the proposed legislation.

These best practices include comprehensive “terms of services” agreements, significantly enhanced vetting of third-party sellers, limitations on high-risk products such as medicine, efficient notice and takedown procedures, and enhanced post-discovery actions.

He also cited indemnity requirements for foreign sellers, clear transactions through banks that comply with enforcement requests, pre-sale identification of third-party sellers, establishing marketplace transaction IDS, and identifiable country of origin disclosures.

“It cannot be emphasized that intellectual property protection is critical to fostering innovation, research, and development so businesses and individuals can enjoy the full benefits of their inventions, and for artists to be fully compensated for their creations and so cultural vitality will prosper,” Barba said. — Kris Crismundo (PNA)

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