IPOPHL, PRA toughen efforts against counterfeiting, piracy in retail industry

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) is strengthening collaborative efforts in going after counterfeiting and piracy activities as well as promoting intellectual property (IP) rights as a tool for business recovery and growth.

With the online signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last March 30, IPOPHL and the PRA will establish a code of practice in the fight against the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods in commercial establishments to protect both PRA members who are right holders and also Filipino consumers.

“This MOU is a crucial step in our fight against IP rights violations including in brick and mortar shops, especially now that consumers are now going out to physical stores and establishments to shop,” said IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba during the event.

Under the MOU, IPOPHL and the PRA have several goals, including the adoption of an Anti-Counterfeit and Anti-Piracy policy among PRA members and implementation of a fake-free policy in commercial establishments, among others.

PRA Chairman Paul A. Santos said the MOU helps the organization, which comprises nearly 80% of the Philippine retail industry, fulfill its primary responsibility of promoting fair trade practices among its members and enabling a safe retail environment for consumers.

The MOU marks the second time the PRA is supporting IPOPHL. To recall, IPOPHL partnered with the PRA last year for the Juan for the World Trademark Incentive Program to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) protect their trademarks and be competitive in global markets.

“Through this MOU, the PRA commits to make our members fully aware of the importance of IP rights and advocate anti-counterfeit and anti-piracy policies and campaigns among our members,” Santos added.

The MOU is also hoped to help stamp out counterfeit trade in the Greenhills Shopping Center, the lone physical Philippine market listed in the US Trade Representative’s Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy

“We hope with this partnership with PRA, we will be able to clean Greenhills from IP rights violations and further boost the image and legacy of the Philippines as a country that respects and values IP rights,” Barba said.

Present at the signing on IPOPHL’s side were Barba, Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua, IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) Supervising Director Ann N. Edillon and IEO Division Chief Atty. Marlita V. Dagsa. Representing the PRA were Santos, President Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, Secretary General Evelyn Balmeo-Salire, Assistant Secretary General Bing Miranda and Advocacy and Communications Manager Mayan Sangil.