On March 1st, 2020, e-commerce platforms and IP owners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Manila to improve prevention of counterfeit sales on ecommerce platforms. The MOU was jointly prepared by The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the UK’s UK Prosperity Fund ASEAN Economic Reform/FSIP project.
This initiative brings together e-commerce platforms and IP owners, establishing a code of practice among online marketplaces and an efficient notice and takedown procedure which aims to intensify the fight against the sale of counterfeit/pirated goods over the internet.
IPOPHL reported that counterfeiting and piracy complaints surged to a record-high in 2020. The data is closely monitored through its IP Rights Enforcement Office, show that apparently 90% of complaints relate to online infringements.
The MOU commits platforms to respond in a timely manner, and IP owners commit to taking swift Notice & Takedowns steps in attempt to stop counterfeits at sources. This of course, includes a feedback mechanism too.
This is the second MOU in the region after the Thai one signed in January (see here). E-commerce is booming in the region of Southeast Asia, with COVID-19 exacerbating a shift from retail to online purchasing. IP owners and platforms are overwhelmed by the volumes of IP infringements. MOUs are a self regulation tool that allows improvements to a bare regulatory regime which cannot adapt quickly enough to the boom in digital trade. Over time more MOUs are likely and perhaps even updates will occur as new issues arise. The eventual hope is that ASEAN will pick this issue up at regional level.