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Counterfeit goods seizures in 2021 valued at record P24.9 billion


THE GOVERNMENT seized counterfeit goods valued at P24.9 billion in 2021, according to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

“Our National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), which IPOPHL leads as acting chair with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the chair, has recorded its biggest seizure, with a record-breaking P24.9 billion worth of counterfeit goods seized from its inspection and raid operations last year,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said during a virtual briefing on Thursday.

Mr. Barba said the seizures were conducted in collaboration with other members of the NCIPR, such as the Bureau of Customs, Philippine National Police, and National Bureau of Investigation.

“This surpasses the P23.6 billion worth of goods in 2018. The 2021 haul is also higher by 110% than the P9.8 billion in 2020, showing a return to normal of our raid operations and search,” Mr. Barba said.  

“We target(ed) large warehouses and logistics centers in various cities which proved to be hotspots for counterfeit goods,” he added.

IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said the seized goods in 2021 were led by counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol. Other top counterfeit items seized were handbags, wallets, and footwear.

According to Mr. Pascua, the proliferation of counterfeit items is due to demand.

“If there is no demand, there is no supply. If the demand falls, supply will also fall. That is very basic,” Mr. Pascua said.  

Recently, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Privacy report, which flagged sellers at the Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City.

The USTR said vendors in Greenhills Shopping Center boldly display and openly discuss “the illicit nature of the counterfeit goods, instead of discretely hiding the counterfeit goods under the table as they did in the past.”

“Many of the storefronts in this mall sell counterfeit goods, including electronics, perfumes, watches, shoes, accessories, and fashion items,” the USTR said.

Mr. Barba said a technical working group was created to solve the issue of counterfeit goods in Greenhills Shopping Center, adding that there are plans to provide alternative livelihoods to those involved. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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