IPOPHL launches manual for investigation and prosecution of IP cases;
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Manila, Philippines—After the commencement of its “Be Aware of Your Software” (BAYS) campaign, an initiative as member of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) spearheaded by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), and in cooperation with  the Department of Justice (DOJ), launched a manual for the investigation and prosecution of Intellectual Property (IP) cases at the recently held 2nd Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit at the Edsa Shangri-La in Mandaluyong City.



The summit, organized in partnership with member agencies of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), had the theme ‘Respect for Intellectual Property Rights: A Key Component to Fostering Innovation and Economic Development in the Country’.



Divided into four chapters, the Manual for Investigation and Prosecution of Intellectual Property Rights tackles International Commitment of the Philippines on Intellectual Property Rights and significant Philippine laws on IP rights; the establishment of criminal liability, which provided elements and evidence for specific offenses; law enforcement in IP cases, which provided detailed information on complaint-filing procedures; and the role of prosecutors on the investigation of the violation of IP rights.



The creation of the manual is geared towards standardizing procedural guidelines in the investigation and prosecution of IP cases as well as increasing awareness and understanding of IP laws and procedures amongst prosecutors, law enforcers and the general public.



In his speech, IPOPHL Director General Ricardo Blancaflor proudly shared that the Philippines is being recognized as third best in Patent Protection in the Asia and Oceania Region, and the IPOPHL being lauded as one of the model offices in the ASEAN region by international and non-governmental organizations.



Aside from this good news, the IPOPHL Executive also expressed positivity in addressing the challenges that the country has still to face in the coming years. Among these challenges are (1) maintaining the present high standard in IPR enforcement;(2)raising awareness in Intellectual Property, (3) improving judicial systems, and (4) to have the Philippines delisted from the USTR 301 watch list.



“Let us continue the good work. We must raise IP awareness—we cannot expect people to respect IP if they do not know what it’s all about.  We must also make sure that by the end of 2012, cases filed in 2009 and earlier must already be concluded; our action plan is to target two years at the most for each case so that new cases may continue to be filed,” Blancaflor urged.



“Lastly, let us aim to be removed from the United States 301 watch list by strengthening the IPO’s enforcement powers, stepping up efforts to successfully pursue IPR cases and encourage U.S. stakeholder companies to support our prosecution efforts.”



Blancaflor also expressed optimism in the manual’s influence on the recently launched BAYS initiative, an educational campaign on the importance of using genuine and licensed software among businesses.



“The Manual for Investigation and Prosecution of Intellectual Property is not only a guide for prosecutors and law enforcers; it is also for public information.  Some of the main focuses of the manual are unfair competition and copyright—both are significant information when one considers exploiting pirated software,” explained Blancaflor. “In law implementation, the manual is simple and practical in that it details what is required when addressing IP cases,” he added.



To further reiterate the important points on the impact of internet piracy and cybercrime, Atty. Raul Cortez, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director of Microsoft Philippines, shared some insights on how cybercrime as a whole contributes to the problem of software piracy.



“According to a recent study, 94 out of 100 computers using pirated software were found to have malware. This means that anyone who has access to those malware is able to track any information that you have in your computer, whether personal or financial. Imagine putting that in the enterprise.  World-trade secrets and financial information will be exposed. More importantly, if government systems are concerned then there might even be a threat to national security.



“This is why we need to be more vigilant. It’s now or never. We need to figure out what these people are doing and how they do it. We at Microsoft fully support IPOPHL to continuously inform the Philippine prosecutors and law enforcers on copyright, software piracy and even the violation of IP Rights as well as educate the consumers on the importance of using genuine software and the benefits they could receive from such licensed programs,” ended Cortez.





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