The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said it expanded the list of signatories to e-commerce memorandum of understanding that aims to lay down a code of practice and strengthen coordination among e-commerce platforms and brand owners in protecting intellectual property rights online.
Supported by the International Trademark Association and the United Kingdom IP Office, the recent signing which took place at the sidelines of INTA’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Singapore on May 16, 2023, added eight new members to the MOU, including Pearson Education South Asia Pte., BrandShield, PUMA, Treasury Wine Estates, Honeywell, Josefina Manufacturing Inc., Pharmaceutical Security Institute and Sanofi.
“We continue to add more members to the e-commerce MOU amid a growing sentiment to curb counterfeit goods and piracy-promoting posts over the internet. We hope we contribute to building a safe e-commerce environment for consumers and brand owners alike,” said IPOPHL directorgeneral Rowel Barba.
As facilitator in ensuring the smooth implementation of the MOU, IPOPHL is helping expand the membership of the MOU―now at 27 with the new signatories―to create a greater impact.
The MOU provides an avenue where members can closely collaborate and notify platform members on possible IP violations, allowing a more efficient take down of online posts selling counterfeit products or pirated content.
The recent inclusion of two signatories from the pharmaceutical industry, Sanofi and SG-based PSI, will also boost the Philippines’ efforts to prevent the proliferation and sale of counterfeit medicine online.
IPOPHL also aims to clear out the United States Trade Representative’s finding in its 2023 Special 301 Report that the Philippines is among the top sources of counterfeit medicines globally.
The MOU enhances IPOPHL’s existing membership with the PSI, from capacity-building, raising awareness and exchanging critical information for investigation, seizure and prosecution purposes to addressing challenges in delivering safe medicines and ensuring integrity in the distribution of pharmaceuticals online.
“Today’s expansion of the MOU showcases the incredible importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in addressing the spread of counterfeiting and piracy, especially in online marketplaces where almost everyone is today. This whole-of-society approach will gain us not only the overall health and safety of our consumers but also a stronger IP system that would promote innovation and competitiveness,” Barba said.
The MOU has led to the removal of infringing posts on Lazada and Shopee, which are both signatories to the effort. It has also been cited as a best practice in the ASEAN in cultivating trust online to deter illicit alcohol trade.
A second annual review of the MOU, set by end-May 2023, will assess the result and further fine-tune areas of improvement in its framework and implementation.