PIA Director General Undersecretary Jose A. Torres, Jr. (left), IPOPHIL Director General Atty. Rowel S. Barbar, and IPOPHIL Assistant Secretary Christine V. Pangilinan-Canlapan. – Photo by Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY – The government, through the National Council on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), has seized a total of P22.5 billion worth of pirated and counterfeit products from January to August this year.

In a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) hosted by PIA Director General Undersecretary Jose A. Torres, Jr., Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) Director General Atty. Rowel S. Barba said that “The seizures were made by the NCIPR with 15 member-agencies such as law enforcement agencies, namely the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Optical Media Bureau (OMB), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) at malapit na rin maging miyembro ang Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).”

Barba noted that copyright infringement is penalized depending on the gravity of the offense and the penalties will be upon the discretion of the competent court.

Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the “Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines”, created the IPOPHIL. The IPOPHIL is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“Laging napagkakamalan na private corporation kami. Tinutulungan naang mga inventors, creators kasi ibat-iba ang designs, patents, Philippine model at designers, design at copyright,” Barba said.

“Katulad ng camaramen, photographers kaya malawak po ang tinutulungan natin malawak ang sektor kasama na ang lawyers. Regulatory kami po ang opis na nagrerehistro ng trademarks,” he added.

Barba noted that the “adjudicatory function rests with the Bureau of Legal Affairs na ngayon ay humahawak ng kaso ng Eat Bulaga. Yung desisyon po dyan ay iaakyat sa head ng BLA at iaakyat din sa IPOIPHIL head.”

In the 2023 Global Innovation Index, in 2020 the Philippines ranked 50; in 2021 – 51; in 2022 – 59; and in 2023 – 56 rank out of 132 countries or economies.

Barba said “with 80 indicators, seven pillars in inputs – from 76 to 69 and innovation inputs – from 82 to 59 and two are outputs. Mataas pa rin ang outputs kumpara sa inputs.”

“By 2028, ang target ay 40th ranking. Hindi tayo dapat maging kampante na tumaas tayo ng 3 notches,” Barba said.

“Patent and industrial designs patents grew, while utility models consistent growth and we hope to sustain this growth this year and the years to come,” he added.

“81 buong Pilipinas tinatawag na ITSO 2.2 We will continue to work together with the ITSO community. We will further capacitate our innovation,” Barba said.

“Copyright exists upon the moment of creation. Copyright protection is 50 years after the death of the copyright owner plus 50 years,” he added.

“Hopefully, mapapaigting natin ang IP awareness katulong ang PIA. IPOPHIL is now working out to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PIA in order to avail of other services that the PIA is presently providing,” Barba said.

Barba urged everyone to respect the Intellectual Property Rights. Intellectual property right is a private right.

“We will more aggressively promote our existing avenues aimed at inventors who are exploring opportunities in global markets,” he said.

“More creators are realizing the importance of protecting the ownership of their works. Copyright registrations, as early as July, exceeded Ipinagyayabang ko po ito na maybe we are the only government agency na 90 percent online,” he added.

“For copyright registration, by early next year, we hope to integrate with our website para masabi namin na 100 percent online na kami,” Barba said.

“Nandyan na po ang basic infrastructure before the Covid-19 pandemic. Hindi po na-implement at baka daw po maging obsolete,” he added.

“As of July, 4,000 na target (copyright registration) na hit na. IPOPHIL has been going around the country to help creators to get to know the copyright system better and use it as a lever in transforming their artworks into a high-value asset,” Barba said.

IPOPHIL’s ultimate mission is making Intellectual Property a force that benefits all Filipinos.

“We also support the publication of books, in partnership with the, including the “Murals”.6,000 na mga kababaihan at mga negosyo ang nakinabang sa Trademark Registration Program, especially sa Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” he added.

“Meron din tayong Youth IP Incentives Program where there is total waiver of fees. Just this year, we approved the registration of Guimaras mangoes,” Barba said.

“32 total and madagdagan pa, Hopefully, this year, pati sa barangay, wag nang hintaying pumunta pa sila sa opisina. Hindi lang po ang malalaking negosyo ang nagbenefit sa IP registration. Saan po ba nagsimula ang malalaking Negosyo,” he added.

“Because it’s Philippine Creative Month for ngayon, I call on the youth aged 18-35, to join the “Young Creatives Challenge” with a P1 million prize for each category,” Barba said. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.