Alleged piracy, counterfeiting reports surged in 2020 amid lockdown — IPOPHL | Inquirer News

Alleged piracy, counterfeiting reports surged in 2020 amid lockdown — IPOPHL

/ 11:14 PM February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Reports of alleged piracy and counterfeiting surged in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of people to rely heavily on online platforms which in turn presented opportunities for so-called illicit traders.

According to a report from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) released on Friday, they receive around 121 complaints of suspected counterfeiting activities, 54 of which were the illegal sharing and selling of copyrighted works.


Most of the counterfeiting reports centered on fake clothes and apparels, which was a total of 39 or around 77 percent, followed by gadgets with seven reports, and cosmetics with six reports.  For piracy, movies are still the usual victims with 22 reports, followed by electronic books with 14 reports, and software products with nine.

“Of these, four were verified complaints from intellectual property (IP) rights holders — which is a first step to pursuing sanctions — while the remaining 117 were reports from consumers and concerned citizens,” IPOPHL said in a statement.


“About 116 were disposed of or saw completed appropriate action from IPOPHL and the IP owners while five cases are pending verification for appropriate action,” it added.

At least 90 percent of the allegedly counterfeit and pirated items were sold online, most of which coming from social media accounts and streaming sites Facebook (61 percent) and Youtube (two percent), online market applications Shoppee (12 percent) and Lazada (seven percent), and other websites (13 percent).

Although IPOPHL said that 2020’s data may not be compared to previous year’s tallies because a new accessible method of reporting was introduced in the said year, the agency is concerned over the trend.

IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua noted the presence of an “obviously striking surge” in counterfeiting and piracy activities surpassed the 100 reports obtained from 2016 to 2019.

“The exponential growth in online activities during the pandemic created the perfect entry point for pirates and counterfeiters as they took advantage of both legitimate (e.g e-commerce sites, social media) and illicit avenues (e.g dark web sites),” Pascua said.

“In addition, the disruption in supply chains gave counterfeiters an opportunity to fill the gap with substandard, IP infringing products. The environment was equally lucrative for content pirates as people sought to find free sources of entertainment with many spending most of their time at home,” he added.

IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba said that the office would take on five strategies to improve its campaign against counterfeiting and piracy, which centers in enhancing the capabilities of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) and strengthening collaboration between the government agencies.


Aside from that, Barba said that they would also help intellectual property rights owners and holders to implement a strategy that would ensure that their IPs are properly protected, while also engaging with online platforms, payment gateways and internet service providers in preventing counterfeiting and piracy.

“As intellectual property products have been identified as a major growth driver to the economy in the fourth quarter of an exceptionally tumultuous year, there must be a renewed urgency for a wider crackdown on counterfeiting and piracy,” Barba said.

“The crackdown we need must engage the active participation of regulating bodies, enforcement authorities, local governments, lawmakers, intermediaries and IP right holders themselves. Together, we must develop effective offensive strategies that compel nationwide action to safeguard IPs, the very tools that can jumpstart our recovery and revitalize the Philippine economic growth story,” he added.

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TAGS: counterfeiting, COVID-19 pandemic, illicit trading, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, IPOPHL, online classes, online platforms, Philippine news updates, Piracy, suspected counterfeiting activities
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