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Value of seized counterfeit goods hit record P13.32B.

THE TOTAL value of counterfeit and pirated products seized by the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights hit a record high P13.32 billion last year on the back of the increased efforts of the agency's member institutions to curb piracy.

This was 70 percent higher than the P7.86 billion worth of goods seized in 2013, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said on Friday.

According to IPOPHL deputy director general Allan B. Gepty, their agency's enforcement functions under the amended Intellectual Property Code had worked well, resulting in visits to establishments, of which one was found using unlicensed software while four were selling counterfeit products. Visits to 10 other establishments resulted in the seizure of more than 16 sacks of pirated DVDs, CDs and computer software.

Gepty stressed that the IPOPHL would sustain these positive actions to improve the intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement in the country.

"The Philippines' removal from the [Office of the United States Trade Representative] Special 301 Watch List in 2014 is a manifestation of the country's efforts to build up the image of the country where intellectual property rights are fully respected and enforcement laws are complied with," Gepty said.

He also emphasized that the "country will continue to persevere in maintaining the steady progress on IP enforcement."

It was only in April last year that the Philippines was finally stricken off the United States' list of piracy hotspots after being in the watch list for the past 20 years.

The US agency removed the country from the list as the government was able to enact "a series of significant legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines."

The USTR has created a socalled "Priority Watch List" and "Watch List" under the Special 301 provisions.

A trading country's placement on the Priority Watch List or Watch List meant that particular problems exist in that country or economy with respect to intellectual property rights protection, enforcement or market access for persons relying on intellectual property. Trading partners on the Priority Watch List would become the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.

The Philippines first appeared on either the Watch List or Priority Watch List in 1989 and was on the list from 1994 to 2014.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 6, 2015
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