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Philippines Is Finally Removed from the USTR Special 301 Watch List

Issued: May 15 2014

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippine (IPOPHL), through Director General Ricardo R. Blancaflor, recently congratulated the members of the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) on the occasion of the removal of the Philippines from the USTR Special 301 Watch List after being in the list since 1994.

 

The US identifies in its annual USTR Special 301 Report trading partners that do not adequately and effectively protect IPRs. Countries are categorized under “Priority Foreign Countries,” “Priority Watch List” and the ordinary “Watch List.” For this year, only the Philippines and Israel were removed from the Watch List.

 

The members of the NCIPR are the following: the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Custom (BOC), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Optical Media Board (OMB), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Justice (DOJ), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Book Development Board (NBDB), Office of the Special Envoy for Transnational Crime, National Telecommunication Commission, Office of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the IPOPHL.

 

Since 2010, the NCIPR has been under the able management of IPOPHL Deputy Director General Allan B. Gepty.  In 2011, the Philippines was upgraded from Ordinary Watch List with Out of Cycle Review and in 2012, the Philippines was removed from the Notorious Market list of the USTR and the removal of the country from the Watch List, this year, is a steady progress.

 

The removal from the Watch List will result in improving the Philippine image as a country where intellectual property rights are fully respected and enforcement laws are likewise complied. It also reinforces the Philippines position as the country champion for IP enforcement in the South East Asian region.

 

Deputy Director General Allan Gepty stated that for the first quarter of this year alone,  the total value of Php 6,239,574,942.51 has already been reached, representing almost eighty percent of the total value in the year of 2013. The members of the NCIPR gave their assurance that they will continue to be vigilant against piracy and counterfeiting. For this year, the BOC has the biggest amount of seizures followed by NBI and OMB.

 

 

The IPOPHL also outlined efforts to raise awareness of IP protection among the other law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, members of the judiciary, and academic institutions.

 

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