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IPOPHL Lauds Customs for Destruction of Counterfeits Amid COVID

13-Aug-2020 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 1526
TAGUIG, Philippines - The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) commended the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for destroying P500 million worth of counterfeit goods at the height of the COVID-19 crisis to demonstrate its commitment to protecting the country from the entry of counterfeit goods, according to the official website of IPOPHL.

"The BOC, as vanguard to the country’s borders, is crucial in ensuring that shipments for counterfeit and illegal trade do not reach local markets, deterring any harm to investor confidence, the economy and public health and safety. Also an active member of the National Committee of Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), the BOC, particularly its IP Rights Division, continuously undergo training to better police shipments and craft effective border protection policies,” Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said.

“BOC’s destruction forms part of NCIPR’s mandate of increasing public awareness against counterfeiting and piracy. We hope our collective and vigorous awareness efforts will influence attitudes of consumers and purveyors on counterfeiting and piracy and build public support against this illegal activity,” DDG Pascua added.

The BOC, through the Port of Manila, crushed and shredded the confirmed counterfeit goods on August 8, 2020 at the RCU Waste Management Facility in Valenzuela City. 

The goods, mostly personal care and luxury goods, were part of the seized illegal and counterfeit consumer articles at a mall in Divisoria in July 2019. The operation was prompted by complaints from several brand owners who had identified the commercial center as a storage provider for counterfeit consumer goods.

Customs Assistant Commissioner Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla said the bureau suspects that most of the fake goods were from China, which is usually where IP-rights-infringing goods originate.

“The origin is still something we’re investigating because when these were hauled, the owners of the shipments could not provide papers to show their source of origin. But looking into the violations, mostly these counterfeits usually come from China,” Asst. Comm. Maronilla said at BOC’s online press conference.

Citing the vast opportunities the COVID crisis presents to fraudulent traders at the moment, DDG Pascua encouraged brand owners to take the necessary basic measures to protect their IP assets, 

“Trademark owners must keep their eyes open more than ever. They must proactively coordinate with IPOPHL and other IP rights enforcing agencies pertinent to intercepting and weeding out counterfeits in local commerce. They should also make the most of technology to help consumers and enforcement authorities more easily distinguish genuine products from fakes. They, themselves, must also continuously learn of the emerging challenges the COVID situation is posing to trademark enforcement in the country,” the official added.

In January to June this year, IP rights violation complaints lodged at IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office totaled 80, 66% higher than the 47 reports received for the entire year of 2019. Counterfeit and trademark infringement accounted for the bulk with 36 reports or 45% of the total. 

The alleged counterfeited goods include apparel, accessories, cigarettes, hard drives, surgical masks, N95 respirators, and a bleach product.
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