The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the International Trademark Association (INTA) to fight counterfeiting by improving the capacities and awareness of the youth, businesses, online platforms, and national authorities.

“We are thankful to INTA for always standing with IPOPHL in the past years. But today, we elevate our collaborative relations to a more solid partnership where we will be pursuing a multi-pronged strategy on capacity building, awareness, and global dialogue,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba said.

Under the MOU, INTA will help IPOPHL capacitate its examiners in evaluating emerging products in designs; trademarks; certification marks; non-traditional marks; famous and well-known marks to prevent confusing similarity among marks.

Both will also capacitate Customs to improve cross-border cooperation, seizures, and destruction procedures; online platforms to adopt voluntary best practices in preventing and addressing online counterfeit trade: national enforcement authorities and brand owners to streamline coordination and swiftly intercept counterfeits, and court judges to broaden their knowledge on IP and keep abreast with international legal viewpoints on IP cases.

On raising awareness, IPOPHL and INTA will be targeting the youth, including those out of school.

“Our young people are a key audience in building a nationwide culture of respect for intellectual property (IP). We hope we can connect with the youth effectively and in a way that would capture their interest in creativity, innovation, and all things IP,” Barba said.

IPOPHL and INTA’s awareness campaign will also benefit local business associations to equip them, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with cost-effective brand management practices and global protection strategies.

Through the partnership, INTA vowed to bolster IPOPHL’s engagement with its global members through its numerous events, including INTA’s annual meeting where IPOPHL can share its best practices and learn as well from countries more experienced in enforcement.

INTA is a global association of 7,200 brand owners and professionals dedicated to developing and promoting wider adoption of trademark protection best practices with the end goal of fostering consumer trust, innovations, and economic prosperity.

The MOU work plan will be implemented until end of 2022 and will be assessed thereafter to identify areas that need further work and potentially new concerns that demand action from both parties.