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The U.S. Trade Representative, in its 2014 Special 301 Report—which assesses the state of intellectual property rights worldwide—removed the Philippines from its watch list in recognition of the country’s accomplishments in upholding intellectual property rights. The April 30 report finds that the Philippine government has undertaken sustained actions “to improve intellectual property rights protection and civil and administrative enforcement.” The Philippines had been on the watch list since the U.S. Trade Representative issued its first report in 1989.
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, has been working to help the Philippines improve its intellectual property protections. ABA ROLI has collaborated with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the Philippine Supreme Court and the Philippine Judicial Academy to develop and provide trainings for trial court judges and Court of Appeals justices. ABA ROLI has also conducted trainings on intellectual property law and procedures for Special Commercial Court judges in seven of the country’s 17 regions. It has also trained select court attorneys from the Court of Appeals’ Cebu and Cagayan de Oro stations. Since 2013, a total of 76 judges and attorneys have been trained on substantive law and procedures, including on the latest jurisprudence on trademarks, copyright, patents and cybercrime.
Allan B. Gepty, deputy director general of IPOPHL, said that the strengthened intellectual property rights protection was a result of the collective efforts to increase public awareness, to build up the investigative and prosecutorial capacity of enforcement agencies and to boost judges’ capacity to apply intellectual property laws consistently. “The trainings [especially] of Special Commercial Court judges, who are at the forefront in resolving intellectual property rights controversies, are invaluable,” said Gepty. “Because strong intellectual property rights enforcement would be incomplete without able courts.”
Mandated by section 182 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, the 2014 report includes 10 countries under priority watch list and 26 others under watch list.
To learn more about our work in the Philippines, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at email@example.com.