Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Greenhills mall presents 10-year plan to shift away from counterfeits

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), brand owners, and enforcement agencies held a dialogue on May 9 with the Greenhills Shopping Center (GSC), which presented ongoing developments in its campaign to encourage its flea market traders to shift away from counterfeit products.

At the meeting, GSC assistant vice president and trade fairs and exhibits head James Candelaria presented the mall’s 10-year roadmap, which aims to gradually move 100% of its merchants away from selling intellectual property (IP) infringing products by 2027.

Starting in 2020, GSC management decided to reduce the number of stalls to 1,412 from 1,771. Candelaria also reported that as of October 2023, 80% of the traders have gone through the transition program and are now selling local products, Halal items, jewelry, antiques, furniture pieces and artworks.

He also showed that over the years since the implementation of the roadmap, the mall was able to weed out nearly 299 stores by suspension. The GSC suspends stores that violate its rules, including IP rules, and majority of the suspended sellers, according to Candelaria, do not return to GSC.

“What we have done so far is really to educate our traders along the way, to tell them that it’s time to change and that there are other products to profit from,” said Candelaria.

Some of GSC’s notable and recent education initiatives include a learning event with the Department of Trade and Industry attended by over 400 merchants and “Bagsakan” events where the GSC showcases local products traders could explore selling.

Since 2022, the mall has refused to accept applicants who intend to sell bags, watches and similar products, except where local manufacturers or labeled products are involved. The category usually makes up a big share of the counterfeit products seized by the National Committee on IP Rights (NCIPR).

The GSC also provided incentives to stores that sell local delicacies and items, placing them at premium locations, which stand at various entrances of the building where the flea market is located.

The meeting was also attended by the legal representatives of luxury brands, who were able to discuss solutions with GSC for their teams to better monitor stores. Also in attendance were NCIPR members, such as the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Customs.

The dialogue was followed by a brief tour, through which GSC showed the new mall building, filled with well-known apparel brands and food stores, and the flea market.

IPOPHL director general Rowel S. Barba reminded stall owners on the importance of selling original products, noting IPOPHL will soon conduct an IP briefing with them to help them transition to legitimate goods.

Photo from IPOPHL

Barba also commended the GSC’s ongoing efforts in cultivating a sense of IP respect among its merchants.

“We laud the commitment of the GSC to work together with its merchants to create a fairer and more IP-conscious business environment. We look forward to seeing more positive outcomes from this transition program,” Barba said.

While the GSC is the lone physical market flagged in the United States Trade Representative Notorious Markets Lists, it is joined by the Cartimar Shopping Center and the markets of Baclaran and Divisoria in the European Commission’s Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List.

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