THE intellectual property office is seeking further enforcement powers to order the removal of social media posts selling counterfeit or pirated goods and materials.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said in a statement Saturday that its previous rules did not explicitly cover intellectual property rights-infringing activities conducted online.

Amendments would give the office the ability to issue warning notices and compliance orders directing the online platform to take down posts following a counterfeiting or piracy complaint.

“The way to go about it would depend on facts before the enforcement office. We may order the immediate blocking of a seller but we will not necessarily do that all the time. However, we will definitely always call the platform to immediately exercise its IP (intellectual property) Policy aside from possibly directing it to remove an infringing post,” Ann N. Edillon, director and officer-in-charge of the IPOPHL Enforcement Office (IEO) said.

“Where there is violation of, or resistance to, an IEO order issued in relation to an administrative complaint, IEO can file a case before the pertinent local government unit or the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) for the cancellation of the violating seller’s business permit.”

Under the proposal, IPOPHL would have enforcement powers against the sale, offering for sale, distribution, trade, display, streaming, broadcasting, and other preparatory steps necessary to make available counterfeit and pirated goods to the public via electronic, digital, or online means.

IPOPHL’s enforcement orders would also include the permanent take down or blocking of infringing online sites and accounts, cease and desist orders, and orders to remove counterfeit or pirated goods from digital platforms or physical establishments.

The office can ask the National Telecommunications Commission to remove access to a site violating intellectual property rights “without stepping on its regulatory jurisdiction” as the commission usually follows orders issued by courts.

IPOPHL held consultations with brand owners and law firms on the proposed revisions. The proposed rules will be submitted to IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba, who has final say on approval.

Piracy accounted for nearly a fifth of the 21 intellectual property rights violations reports received by the enforcement office in March. — Jenina P. Ibañez