Agents of the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division (AFCCD) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) turned in counterfeit items valued at more than P11 million in a series of raids at Tutuban Center, Shoppesville Arcade, and the University of the Philippines Shopping Center.
Authorities are now considering the inclusion of building owners in the filing of lawsuits against the retailers. Last November 17, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued a memorandum, among others, stated to consider enforcing criminal, civil or administrative liability of owners of buildings, such as malls, that lease space to establishments selling pirated and counterfeit goods.
IP Philippines, the lead coordinator of inter-agency efforts against piracy and counterfeiting, recently organized an advanced course for commercial court judges. Reynaldo G. Ros, executive judge of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 33) of Manila, issued the search warrants for the three raids.
More than P10 million worth of fake Louis Vuitton items were seized in various stalls of Tutuban Cluster Building and Center Mall Prime Block located in Tutuban Center. In Shoppesville Arcade, 25 stalls were raided for selling counterfeit Lacoste products with an estimated value of P750,000. Meanwhile in stall 36 of the University of the Philippines Shopping Center, assorted books, photocopy machines, and ring binders valued at half a million pesos were seized. The police invited three people for further investigation and arrested one stall owner.
Since the National Committee for Intellectual Property Rights ’s creation in 2005, the group has seized P2.4 billion worth of counterfeit items with P1.3 billion recorded in 2006.
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) contributed P722 million to the total estimated value of seized goods in 2006 from conducting 26 warrant seizures and detentions. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), on the other hand, turned in P291 million worth of seized goods from 419 operations.
The Optical Media Board (OMB) confiscated fake items valued at P172 million from 706 inspections and 87 searches. The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, seized P131 million worth of fake goods from 259 operations.
BoC’s IP Unit initiated more stringent border controls with its Automated Customs Operational System (ACOS). It also established a risk assessment program and management system for data gathering. The database, once complete, will help monitor, screen and interdict confiscated goods at the border and post entry level.
Estimated value of confiscated items from 2005 to 2006 increased by P128 million or 11 percent. Actual enforcement operations, however, went down from 2,930 in 2005 to 1,453 in 2006. The concerned agencies focused on the crackdown of big ticket IP violators.
Through close coordination among NCIPR agencies which also include the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), a total of 60 convictions were handed down since 2001, fourteen of which took place in 2006.