EU seeks stronger IP protection

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    The European Union (EU) has called on the need to cooperate with the Philippines in clearing market access barriers brought about by inadequate protection to intellectual property rights (IPR).

    Trade Counsellor Maurizio Cellini of the EU Delegation to the Philippines at the recently-concluded intellectual property forum for practitioners from Southeast Asia urged intellectual property offices in the region to re-assess their role in helping economies and businesses survive, and remain resilient, by continuing to be innovative and competitive during this pandemic.

    Cellini said the EU remains committed to supporting its trading partners, such as the Philippines, in continuing to secure and to protect the intellectual property rights of innovators, creatives, and investors, particularly during these challenging times.

    IPRs such as patents, trademarks, designs, copyrights or geographical indications) enable inventors, creators and businesses to prevent unauthorized exploitation of their creations, and to receive compensation for their investment. These also offer guarantees to users or consumers to identify the origin of the goods concerned.

    “It is in our mutual interest to continue to clear market access barriers owing to inadequate protection and enforcement mechanisms that are needed to sufficiently protect IP rights,” Cellini said.

    He cited the strong relations between the Philippines and EU.

    Bilateral trade in goods were at 14.9 billion euros in 2019; while bilateral services were at 3.7 billion euro in 2018. The EU foreign direct investment stock in the Philippines reached 13.8 billion euro in the same year, making the EU the largest foreign investor in the Philippines.

    Cellini said EU noted some improvements in the intellectual property regime of the Philippines over the years.

    Cellini said the EU, a strong supporter of geographical indications (GI), and is ready to provide technical expertise and guidance on how best to help set up a system of protection in the Philippines. GI is a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other such characteristics relate to its geographical origin.

    The EU supports better protection of geographical indications internationally due to the increasing number of violations throughout the world. The EU is active in multilateral and bilateral negotiations protecting EU geographical indications.