THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has authorized its enforcement unit to request the removal of online posts and advertisements for counterfeit and pirated goods.

The agency officially expanded the powers of its enforcement arm to include digital and online channels via its Memorandum Circular No. 2020-049.

The enforcement arm will need to pursue its takedown request in coordination with other agencies and service providers, following the receipt of complaints from intellectual property rights owners, IPOPHL said in a statement Thursday.

IPOPHL also has the power to issue cease-and-desist orders, order the removal of counterfeit and pirated goods from physical establishments, and ask other government agencies to cancel business permits and other licenses.

Violators now have 72 hours to comply with enforcement decisions, from 60 days previously.

Under the revised rules, IPOPHL can monitor online and physical marketplaces without needing to receive complaints.

“(This type of monitoring allows our office to) take on a more proactive approach and help brand owners screen markets of IP (intellectual property) violating listings, with prospects of reporting possible infringements to concerned IP right holders for their validation and appropriate action,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said.

E-commerce firms Lazada and Shopee recently signed an agreement establishing a procedure for dealing with counterfeit products on their platforms, in coordination with brand owners.

IPOPHL, however, said that amendments to the intellectual property code are still needed for the agency to issue take-down orders on infringing websites, for enforcement by the National Telecommunications Commission.

Under such an amendment, “the National Telecommunications Commission will automatically and immediately enforce it, without further evaluation as their systems can trust the expertise and competence of IPOPHL,” IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said.

The revised rules took effect on March 3. — Jenina P. Ibañez