Greenhills remains on US watch list of product piracy havens | Inquirer News

Greenhills remains on US watch list of product piracy havens

/ 05:44 AM February 01, 2024


MANILA, Philippines — The popular Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City remains on the United States’ counterfeiting and piracy watch list, joining other notorious markets for fake goods around the world, such as China’s Chenghai District and the Heera Panna in Mumbai, India.

The United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) 2023 report released on Tuesday, titled “Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy,” cited Greenhills as a hotbed of counterfeit and pirated products.“Currently, many of the storefronts in this mall sell counterfeit goods, including electronics, perfumes, watches, shoes, accessories, and fashion items,” a portion of the 53-page report read.


Evasion by relocation

While owners of the mall “report enforcement activity in the form of warning letters and subsequent suspension of business, the targets of enforcement often evade such efforts by moving the location of their stalls,” it added.


A representative of the office of San Juan City Mayor Francisco Javier Zamora told the Inquirer that “efforts have been ongoing for some time now” regarding the sale of illegal goods in the shopping center.

The mayor’s office would be issuing a statement on the matter, the representative said.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) admitted that the shopping center’s continued inclusion in the list puts the the country’s reputation on the line as far as protecting intellectual property rights is concerned.

Product seizures

Still, the USTR cited in its previous report the steps taken by local authorities to combat the sale of contraband in Greenhills.

“For example, in April 2022, [IPOPHL] and the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights led a meeting with Greenhills Shopping Center’s management team,” the USTR’s 2022 report said.

“Under a memorandum of understanding with IPOPHL, the Philippine Retailers Association, of which Greenhills is a member, committed to a ‘zero-tolerance approach’ to counterfeit products,” it added.


The report also noted that the National Bureau of Investigation seized $1.4 million (around P78.80 million) worth of counterfeit luxury goods from Greenhills vendors during the same month.

In February last year, after the USTR Notorious Markets List still included Greenhills Shopping Center, IPOPHL said it was working on a plan to tackle the problem.

The strategies included compelling the shopping center to be more strict in monitoring the stalls, imposing heftier penalties, and coordinating with brand owners to express their willingness to sue and warning the mall’s management of potential violations.

Health, safety risks

The USTR said the counterfeit market not only undermines brand owners and major companies but poses health and safety risks to consumers, who are largely unaware of the dangers.

Producers of counterfeit goods operate outside of regulations and have no incentive to comply with safety standards, it said.

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IPOPHL’s records showed that authorities seized at least P23.03 billion worth of pirated goods nationwide from January to September 2023.

The amount was more than a twofold increase in the value of products seized in the same nine-month period of the previous year.

TAGS: copyright infringement, Greenhills, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, product piracy

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