San Diego, CA – May 4, 2015 – Today the International Trademark Association and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the 2015 INTA Annual Meeting taking place in San Diego, California. This MOU sets the foundation for a formal working relationship between INTA with IPOPHL, enabling increased cooperation for the benefit of Philippine and international brand owners and consumers.
The MOU builds upon several years of positive and frequent interactions between INTA and IPOPHL. INTA and IPOPHL conducted a joint roundtable on Online Counterfeiting in 2012, the Office has invited INTA speakers to its IP Week events in 2013 and 2014, and has attended INTA’s Annual Meeting in 2014 and 2015.
The Philippines economy grew by a remarkable 6.1% in 2014 and is expected to expand by 6.4% in 2015. While government expenditure in the Philippines has contributed significantly to its economic growth, private consumption generated more than 60% in GDP growth in 2014. Consumer spending grew by 5.4% while employment rose by 2.8%. The MOU takes into account the increased international trade in branded goods both out of and into the Philippines, supported by strong exports and a growing consumer class. Areas of cooperation outlined in the MOU include:
- Invitations to programs and meetings;
- Cooperation in the organization of programs and meetings;
- Development of training programs; and
- Development of programs for the public.
IPOPHL is also currently the lead office for enforcement efforts at the ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation (AWGIPC). This office has been a major driver for increasing integration and coordination of enforcement efforts between the 10 member states of ASEAN. Currently, 25% of trade in the ASEAN is inter-ASEAN – member states trading with other member states. Further economic integration will no doubt lead to increased trade with the ASEAN community. INTA recognizes the huge potential of an integrated economy for the ASEAN community and, at the same time, appreciates the challenges involved.
Under the proposed MOU, INTA and IPOPHL will execute a project in 2015, the focus of which will be on ASEAN customs training. INTA also wishes to bring its experience and expertise to IPOPHL and the ASEAN community in areas where it can be useful and effective, including: enhanced trademark law harmonization in the region, enforcement with regards to goods in transit and counterfeiting, and education for both policy makers and consumers.
"The Philippines is playing an increasingly important role in the regional and global economy,” said INTA President J. Scott Evans (Adobe Systems Incorporated—USA). “This MOU will help us to provide greater support to Philippine brands owners and IP practitioners so that they can effectively protect and grow their trademark portfolios. We also look forward to developing educational programs for the Philippine public to help us demonstrate the importance of trademark protection and the key role that trademarks plays in their national economy.”
“This MOU with INTA is an affirmation of our productive partnership in ensuring the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, and a manifestation to pursue our desire to further enhance the IP regime in the Philippines. Other than having a robust economy, Philippines is now entering a demographic and middle income sweet spot, thus, making it a huge market for global brands.” said Allan B. Gepty, Deputy Director General of IPOPHIL. “With the accession of the Philippines to the Madrid Protocol, trademark owners can now take advantage of the system in protecting their trademarks, and with the present cooperation with INTA they can expect a new platform of ensuring enforcement of their trademarks,” Gepty added.
INTA has recently signed MOUs with the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (HKIPD); the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Inspectorate of Vietnam; the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce of the Republic of Colombia (SIC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and Cooperation Agreements with the Asociación Interamericana de la Propiedad Intelectual (ASIPI) and Beijing-based Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC).
The International Trademark Association (INTA) is the global association of trademark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce. Members include more than 6,500 trademark owners, professionals and academics from more than 190 countries, who benefit from the Association’s global trademark resources, policy development, education and training, and international network. Founded in 1878, INTA is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Brussels, Shanghai and Washington, D.C., and representatives in Geneva and Mumbai.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is the primary government agency tasked to administer and implement state policies, laws, rules and regulations in the promotion, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Its office is located at the Intellectual Property Centre, No. 28 Upper Mckinley Road, Mckinley Hill Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.