THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is proposing legislation that will hold online platforms and malls responsible for the sale of counterfeit goods, IPOPHL Director-General Josephine R. Santiago said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
IPOPHL has submitted proposed revisions to the Intellectual Property Code that includes third-party liability to the Senate committee on trade. They have also had discussions with the committee on trade at the House of Representatives.
Under the proposed law, mall landlord-leasee liability will extend to trademarks. Previous versions of the Intellectual Property Code only cover copyright.
Copyright covers creative work including literature, art, and dissertations. Trademark protects brands, logos, and slogans.
“Those that you see in terms of articles of footwear, bags, and all you see in malls — that will already be hit by the bill,” Ms. Santiago said.
Penalties for malls would increase to between P50,000 to P150,000 for the first offense, and up to P1 million in succeeding offenses.
Penalties for violations that pertain to public health and safety would be increased further.
IPOPHL is also proposing that e-commerce sites found complicit will be shut down. They also plan to disrupt payment gateways, participating in a “project chargeback” strategy that returns funds to consumers.
“The good thing with popular [online] platforms, they work with government trying to self-police the products, the sellers that are going through their platforms,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.
He noted that Department of Trade and Industry’s consumer protection group has already received between 300 to 400 consumer complaints about e-commerce platforms.
Ms. Santiago said that the revised Intellectual Property Code includes between 10 and 20% of substantive changes from the previously submitted code.
The National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) on Wednesday held its high-level meeting with member agencies to discuss the implementation of its 2019-2022 Action Plan. — Jenina P. Ibañez