MANILA—The Philippines has been removed from the European Union's priority watchlist on counterfeiting and piracy, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said Saturday.
The country was categorized Priority 3 — the least concerning of the three tiers, with Priority 1 posing the biggest threat — but was finally stricken off the list because it did well to prevent intellectual property rights (IPR) violations from spreading.
The findings were part of the European Commission's "report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries" released Jan. 8.
"Due to the few complaints, IPR holders in EU only deemed it strategic to put the Philippines aside and give more importance in looking after other countries who have an increasing potential to let loose on counterfeiting and piracy activities," IPOPHL director-general Teodoro Pascua said in a statement.
According to the IPOPHL, this was the first time the Philippines was out of the priority categories; the country had been tagged Priority 3 since 2015, and was listed Priority 2 in 2013 and 2014.
Despite the development, though, the EU report said it will still closely monitor the IPR situation in the country since "the situation has not improved over the last years” at home.
But the IPOPHL disputed the observation, alleging that the studies used by the EU were based on limited and dated data, as far back as 2011.
"Several actions on improving IPR enforcement have been made since then," Pascua said.
"In fact, the previous watchlist report, released in 2018, even commended the country for efforts we have been amplifying since then, particularly the push to amend the Intellectual Property Code of 1998, which is now in Congress and awaiting filing as a bill."