INTA Participates in Anticounterfeiting Events in Colombia, Mexico, and the Philippines

Published: September 15, 2018

On July 23, the East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of the Anticounterfeiting Committee held its policy dialogue with the Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila, the Philippines. The event was co-sponsored by the law offices of Hechanova Bugay Vilchez & Andaya-Racadio and organized by Anticounterfeiting Committee member Editha Hechanova (Hechanova Bugay Vilchez & Andaya-Racadio, the Philippines). The dialogue was well attended by representatives from the Philippines BOC, trademark owners, intellectual property (IP) practitioners, and private IP investigators. The objective of the dialogue was for the trademark owners and other IP stakeholders to gain better understanding of the BOC’s border control measures against counterfeit goods, and to enhance the cooperation between the BOC and the private sector.

Seth Hays, INTA Chief Representative, Asia-Pacific, set the stage for the dialogue by providing some opening remarks on INTA’s role in advocating for stronger trademark protection and on the activities of the Anticounterfeiting Committee. Mr. Hays underscored the Association’s advocacy in continuously seeking partnerships and cooperation with local authorities at the global and regional levels to advance protection against counterfeiting and infringement.

Dominic Garcia, Chief of the BOC’s Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD), reported that seizures of counterfeit goods amounted to PHP 7.088 billion (about USD 136.3 million) as of June 30, 2018, surpassing 2017 seizures by 20 percent, even before the year is over. Mr. Garcia also discussed some of the challenges in implementing Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 9-2008, which is the Creation of a Permanent Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD).

Willie B. Sarmiento, Chief of Staff of the BOC, discussed border enforcement of IP, particularly the nature of alert orders to seize counterfeits. He said that the BOC receives information from foreign counterparts, government agencies, private complainants, and informants, which can result in alert orders being issued on the basis of undervaluation, misclassification, over-quantity, misdeclaration, and importation contrary to law. Mr. Sarmiento also noted that the BOC often works closely with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the private sector on enforcement actions.

Finally, Florante Macarilay Jr. of the Legal Services Division of the BOC discussed the seizure of forfeiture proceedings, including the appeals process. Mr. Macarilay went over the forfeiture procedures, the venue of such procedures, and how the private sector may participate in these proceedings.

The dialogue closed with an open discussion between the BOC and the private sector attendees on how they could better work together and what improvements need to be made in the customs system. The dialogue was a success due to the participation of the representatives of the BOC and the open dialogue among all stakeholders in attendance.

INTA Participates in IP Rights Training Organized by the U.S. National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center

From August 20 through 23, INTA participated in an intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement training held in Mexico City, Mexico. The training was organized by the U.S. National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center),
in partnership with the Mexican Tax and Customs Administration Service (SAT). The SAT is the body responsible for collecting taxes and applying the customs laws in the country.

The purpose of the event was to create an open forum between the public sector and private sector through IP rights trainings and discussion panels. In attendance were over 100 officials from the SAT, police, prosecutors, and judiciary.

Representatives from Adidas, Apple, Inc., Chanel, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Phillip Morris International, P&G, Pfizer, UL, and VF Corporation presented brand identification training to the officials in attendance and participated in a panel at the close of the workshop. Guest speakers from the public sector included representatives from the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS), the Federal Police/National Security Commission, the IPR Center, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Attendees discussed the different health and safety issues associated with counterfeit products, collaborating on investigations, and why the protection of IPR is so critical for Mexico and its citizens. The workshop closed with a Q&A open discussion session, with questions submitted by the audience members to the participating private sector representatives.

INTA Hosts Joint Policy Dialogue in Colombia

On August 30, the Latin America and Caribbean Subcommittee of the Anticounterfeiting Committee held a policy dialogue on “Border Measures: Policies, Best Practices, and Collaboration” in BogotÁ, Colombia. This dialogue was tailored to foster collaboration between enforcement officials and the private sector in Panama and Colombia, as neighboring countries. The event was organized by Claudette Vernot (Estrategia Juridica, Colombia), Chair of the Latin America and Caribbean Subcommittee, and Anticounterfeiting Committee members Hugo Moran (Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman, PanamÁ), Guillermo Lopez (Bolet & Terrero, Venezuela), and Natalia Vera Matiz (Vera Abogados Asociados S.A., Colombia).

Guest speakers at the dialogue included representatives and former officials from the customs authorities of both Panama and Colombia and experts from the private sector. Among them were Rodolfo Samuda, professor at the University of Panama and former customs official with the Colombia Directorate of National Taxes and Customs (DIAN); JuliÁn Vélez, IP expert and lawyer from DIAN; César Aguirre and Gustavo Osorio, both DIAN officials, who spoke on free trade zones; and Juan Pablo Moreno, an innovation and digital transformation specialist (Colombia), who spoke on digital transformation and innovation as applied to IP crimes.

The attendees discussed different regulations, policies, and best practices on border measures and free trade zones in each country, with a main focus on the importance of collaboration between frontier countries.

For more information on the customs trainings or on INTA’s anticounterfeiting activities, please contact INTA Anticounterfeiting Manager, Maysa Razavi, at [email protected]; Anticounterfeiting, Senior Coordinator, Tiffany Pho, at [email protected]; or Valentina Salmoiraghi, Anticounterfeiting Advisor, Asia-Pacific, at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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