Philippines removed from U.S. piracy watch list

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 30, 2014

WASHINGTON D.C. – After 20 years of being on the U.S. list of piracy hot spots, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has removed the Philippines from its special 301 watch list – a list of countries showing problems with intellectual property rights protection, enforcement or market access.

The announcement co-incited with President Barack Obama’s two-day state visit to the Philippines.

“The Philippines’ removal from the watch list is a recognition of the Aquino government’s continuing commitment to uphold the rights of the professionals and consumers – ensuring that their hard work is recognized and protected by legislation, said Philippine presidential spokesperon Edwin Lacierda.

Back in January, Balitang America spoke to Allan Gepty, Deputy Director General of Intellectual Property Philippines, who met with officials from the U.S copy right and U.S. patent and trademark offices.

“We were able to give them updates on the progress and development on IPR enforcement in the Philippines and that we were able to explain to them that we have substantially addressed, said Gepty.

The 2014 report shows that the Philippines has made a series of significant legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the country.

Such as the passage of special intellectual property rules, — creation of a special court and the passage of Republic Act 10372 or the intellectual property code of the Philippines.

“Practically all these concerns have been addressed by the Philippine Government, that’s why it’s about time that we should be taken out of watch list, said Gepty.

The U.S.-based intellectual property alliance lauds I.P. Philippines as well as Optical Media Board Chairman Ronnie Rickets for its effective anti-piracy campaign in the Philippines.

Rickets say businesses lose hundreds of millions of dollars (a year) in intellectual property rights violations such as piracies via camcording, DVD, software and mobile devices in the Philippines

Ako bilang producer ano it’s a big loss for us, hindi na ganun kalaki, that’s one important thing, nabawasan na yung mga sites na binibilhan nila and the thing is we’re very active in terms of information campaign, said Ricketts.

Philippines Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia says this will encourage investments in the Philippines.

“When you don’t have sufficient IPR Protection, these companies that have innovative products will be reluctant to come in because you know there will be copying, pirating and so on, I think that‘s one that we should see more investments coming in the Philippines,” said Cuisia.

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