AmCham Philippines: Bridges Filipino and Non-Filipino Businesses
The Intellectual Property Rights and Education Committees of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AmCham), in partnership with the University of Makati, hosted a virtual webinar entitled, “Joining the Fight Against Counterfeiting,” on October 27, 2022.
The event centered on the Unreal Campaign of the International Trademark Association (INTA) which is a consumer awareness campaign that aims to educate the youth about the dangers brought by counterfeiting to businesses and consumers.
The program started with the Welcome Remarks by Prof. Virgilio Tabbu, Vice President for Student Services and Community Development at the University of Makati. He expressed his utmost appreciation to AmCham for partnering with the University of Makati and said that “the event is an opportunity for the college and law students of the University of Makati to learn more about the importance of advocating for intellectual property rights in order to combat the problem of counterfeiting.”
The webinar featured presentations from the following speakers – Atty. Divina Ilas-Panganiban, Partner at Quisumbing Torres and co-chair of the Intellectual Property Rights Committee; Atty. Katrina Doble, Partner at Villaraza and Angangco; Atty. Bienvenido Marquez, Partner at Quisumbing Torres; and Atty. Regina Reyes-Rara, Managing Partner at MarksPro Philippines.
Atty. Ilas-Panganiban, who previously chaired the INTA Unreal Campaign for East Asia and the Pacific and currently a part of INTA’s Data Protection Committee, briefly discussed what intellectual property rights are and such forms as copyright and related rights, patents, and trademarks, and service marks as well as how these differ from each other.
Atty. Doble presented the Unreal Campaign to the students. Having been founded in 2012 and started in 2016 in the country, the Unreal Campaign has been a long running partnership between INTA and AmCham Philippines. The campaign is composed of 3 E’s which are: educate, empower, and encourage the youth to make smarter purchasing decisions.
Atty. Doble emphasized on the importance of a trademark to consumers, as it helps to identify a product, differentiates a product apart from others, sets brand expectations, and allows consumers to express individuality. As for businesses, trademarks are important because they help promote brand recognition, encourage innovation, generate referrals, enable them to connect with their customers, and most importantly, create value for businesses. Video clips were also played that showed examples of the harmful effects of counterfeiting to the consumers, businesses, and the rest of the community in terms of health and safety issues, revenue and job loss, and the proliferation of illegal activity. This was followed by a short activity wherein students were asked to look at pictures of several products to distinguish between the real and counterfeit products. She underscored that the youth today play a significant role in the solution to counterfeiting, as they have the power to say no to counterfeit goods.
The presentation of Atty. Doble was supplemented by the discussions given by Atty. Bienvenido Marquez and Atty. Regina Reyes-Rara on some examples of counterfeiting cases from several brands in various industries.
Atty. Marquez also touched on the work that they do with different organizations and agencies, including the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) that ensures proper enforcement of intellectual property rights and addresses intellectual property rights violations. Meanwhile, Atty. Reyes-Rara elaborated on the work that they do in protecting intellectual property rights, such as sending cease and desist letters; conducting investigation, surveillance, searches, and seizures, as well as filing administrative, civil, or criminal complaints for infringements and/or unfair competition.
The presentations were followed by the lively participation of the students in the Open Forum where they asked how they can identify if a product is real or counterfeit, as well as the process of reporting intellectual property rights infringement.
Ms. Alexandra Rosaria, Student Regent of the University of Makati, delivered the Student Response and Commitment on behalf of the University’s students regarding their learnings from the session and to pledge their commitment in upholding the fight against counterfeiting.
Ms. Pui Keng Lim, Chair of the International Trademark Association (INTA) Unreal Campaign for East Asia and the Pacific, wrapped up the event by delivering the closing remarks.
Karla Lomibao is an Industry Development and Partnership Specialist of AmCham Philippines. She handles five of the twenty committees of AmCham, which are the Information & Communications Technology, Trade & Investment, Pharmaceutical, Legislative, and Intellectual Property Rights committees. She can be reached at email@example.com or through 8818-7911 loc. 213.