The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is on its final stages to strengthen the intellectual property (IP) protection in e-commerce. As part of its 5-step effort to close the gaps in the country’s current legal framework, IPOPHL has moved to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among online retail platform companies and IP rights holders. Drafting the MoU is just the penultimate step before setting up a “cooperation mechanism” where periodic meetings of regulators and industry sectors could be held to review current regulations and practices.
The project finally pushed through after virtual consultation held last July 30, 2020 where BNU was well represented. A second draft was presented to the stakeholders from various sectors including online platforms and government agencies and IP owners and organizations to gather more comments and feedback with suggested revisions to the MoU. BNU made some comments and proposed several revisions which were considered.
The draft MoU is based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Brussels, Belgium on 21 June 2016, the purpose of which “is to establish a code of practice in the fight against the sale of counterfeit goods over the internet and to enhance collaboration between the signatories.” The 2016 Brussels MoU is limited to each signatory to the extent that it provides services in the Member States of the European Union or European Economic Area. Some of the signatories were Procter & Gamble, Adidas, Lacoste, Nike and the Alibaba Group.
The proposed MoU highlights the importance of e-commerce players adopting a set of uniform and simpler guidelines on receiving and processing complaints from rights owners and on taking down unscrupulous accounts. Part of the notable provisions found in the draft are the Notice & Take-Down (NTD) Procedures, Proactive and Preventive Measures, Sharing of Information by Online E-Commerce Platforms, and provisions on Repeat Infringers.
Aside from our current legal framework which include the Intellectual Property Code (R.A. 8293), the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (R.A. 10173), and the E-Commerce Act of 2000 (R.A. 8792), certain provisions are also made in line with other proposed and pending bills such as the Internet Transactions Bill, which would be the focal point in the monitoring and implementation of the country’s e-commerce roadmap, and the ASEAN Guidelines for Online Marketplace Providers.
The proposed draft is expected to be circulated for signing before September 2020.