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The Philippines Fostering a Secure E-commerce Environment

Image credit: ipophil.gov.ph

Improving e-commerce IP protection safeguards the rights of innovators, creators, and brand proprietors, preventing online exploitation or counterfeiting of their intellectual property. This protection encourages innovation and fosters an environment conducive to the success of enterprises.

In the Philippines, eight firms and organisations signed an e-commerce Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a code of conduct and increase coordination among e-commerce platforms and brand owners in the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights online.

The latest signing, which was endorsed by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), occurred on the fringes of INTA’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Singapore, officially adding the new members.

According to Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Director General Rowel Barba, they continue to add additional members to the e-commerce MoU amid a growing sentiment to prevent counterfeit goods and piracy-promoting posts on the internet. They aspire to contribute to the creation of a secure e-commerce environment for both customers and brand owners.

As a facilitator in assuring the smooth implementation of the MOU, IPOPHL is assisting in the expansion of the membership, which now stands at 27 signatories, to increase its impact.

The MoU provides a mechanism for members to collaborate closely and notify platform members of potential IP violations, allowing for the more efficient removal of online posts peddling counterfeit goods or pirated content.

The recent addition of two signatories from the pharmaceutical industry will bolster the Philippines’ efforts to prevent the spread and sale of counterfeit medicines online.

The MoU strengthens IPOPHL’s existing partnership with the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), including capacity-building, awareness-raising, and the exchange of vital information for investigation, seizure, and prosecution purposes, as well as addressing challenges in delivering safe medicines and ensuring the integrity of online pharmaceutical distribution.

The expansion of the MoU demonstrates the utmost significance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in combating the spread of counterfeiting and piracy, particularly in the online marketplaces where nearly everyone now conducts business.

This whole-of-society strategy will benefit not only consumer health and safety but also a stronger IP system that will foster innovation and competition.

The MoU has resulted in increased removals of IP-infringing posts on some e-commerce platforms. It has also been identified as an ASEAN best practice in developing trust online to curb illicit alcohol sales.

This month, the MoU will undergo its second annual assessment to analyse its outcomes and fine-tune areas for improvement in its framework and implementation.

E-commerce that works Intellectual property protection promotes economic progress by fostering a fair and competitive economy. It preserves market integrity, fosters investment, and stimulates innovation, resulting in job creation and industrial expansion by eliminating counterfeiting and piracy.

Also, strong IP protection in e-commerce serves to protect public health and safety. Counterfeit goods, particularly in industries such as medicines, pose major dangers to customers’ health. It is critical for consumer welfare to ensure the authenticity and quality of products sold online.

In addition, improving e-commerce IP protection is critical for keeping firms on a fair playing field. It prohibits unfair competition and safeguards businesses from unauthorised use of their brands, patents, trademarks, and intellectual content.

Plus, a robust legal framework and effective enforcement mechanisms for e-commerce IP protection contribute to national and international security by combating transnational organised crime and illicit trade.

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