Work plan eyed to address Greenhills inclusion in US piracy watch list

February 02, 2023

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) on Wednesday said it has proposed a work plan to address the inclusion of the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City under the piracy and counterfeiting watch list of the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

The intellectual property (IP) rights body said it has drafted a plan to tackle what it called as "long standing counterfeit activities" in the famous shopping hub, with over 2,000 indoor and outdoor stores.

"The draft plan is currently under review by the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) members who are expected to indicate what they can contribute to each proposed strategy. The committee is slated to meet late February," the IPOPHL said in a statement.

The major strategies under the proposed work plan, according to the IPOPHL, include strengthening the NCIPR's collaboration with Greenhills, under the hope that the shopping center will implement stricter monitoring of their stalls and impose heftier penalties against sellers of counterfeit products.

The work plan also proposed that the NCIPR coordinate with brand owners to actively submit affidavits of complaints to Greenhills management to indicate their expression of filing a legal complaint and as notice to the mall of potential violators.

Meanwhile, the IPOPHL will also help vendors appreciate the long-term value of respecting others' IP rights and creating their own IP-protected products.

Goods sold in Greenhills Shopping Center, many of which are often suspected as counterfeits or pirated, include electronics, perfumes, watches, shoes, accessories and fashion items.

"While the shopping center's continued inclusion in the list puts the Philippines' reputation in effectively protecting intellectual property rights on the line, we are pleased to see that several positive developments in this case have been cited by the USTR," IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba said in a statement.

IPOPHL cited, as an example, what it said was a high-profile raid back in April of 2022, when the National Bureau of Investigation seized $1.4 million worth of counterfeit luxury goods, —Alden M. Monzon INQ