Monday, May 27, 2024

Counterfeits seized in 2023 reach record-high at near P27-B mark

The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) booked in 2023 a record haul of counterfeit goods in terms of value as seizure operations increased.

The total intellectual property (IP) infringing goods seized in January to December last year reached an estimated market value of P26.86 billion, surpassing the previous record of P24.90 billion registered in 2021.

About 94% of the 2023 seizures were from the operations of the Bureau of Customs (BOC). The rest resulted from the operations of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), with a haul worth P1.20 billion; the Philippine National Police (PNP), with a P285.93 million value; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with a P1.58 million value; and the Optical Media Board (OMB), with a P221,500 haul.

NCIPR acting chair and IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) director general Rowel S. Barba said that based on previous NCIPR meetings, most of the BOC’s seizures consisted of apparel while the majority of the PNP’s haul were cigarettes taken from warehouses in various provinces.

Barba cited the NCIPR for helping prevent the counterfeit goods from reaching the hands of consumers after recording 3,087 enforcement operations conducted in 2023. These operations were mobilized through general law enforcement agency operations, inspections, search warrants and warrants of seizure and detention. The total marks an increase from 2,962 operations logged through inspections and search warrants in 2022.

“With more aggressive and strategic efforts, coupled with its swift coordination with the team and with IP rights holders, the NCIPR members were able to ensure the success of its seizure operations,” Barba said.

IPOPHL IP Rights Enforcement Office supervising director Christine V. Pangilinan-Canlapan clarified that “a significant number of seizures does not exclusively signify increased counterfeit trade in the country.”

“Relative to other nations that have low to zero values in counterfeit goods, a higher value of goods can simply mean we are doing our part in conducting seizure operations, that our close coordination with IP rights holders is bearing fruit in intercepting counterfeit trade and that we are transparent to the public about our operations,” Pangilinan-Canlapan added.

Meanwhile, IP cases prosecuted at the courts declined to 205 from 291 in 2022. However, despite the decline in prosecuted cases, data from the Department of Justice (DOJ) show that the conviction rate or the share of convictions to the total cases disposed rose to 17.07% from 7.90%.  

“The increased convictions show that there is more substantial evidence gathered and presented against an IP infringer,” Pangilinan-Canlapan explained.

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