Sep 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/05/06MANILA2160.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2160 2006-05-23 08:19 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO3742
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2160/01 1430819
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230819Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1109
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 MANILA 002160

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/EP, EB/TPP/IPE, EB/IFD, EB/TPP/BTA/ANA
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR BWEISEL AND DKATZ
STATE PASS USAID FOR CDOWNEY
USDOC FOR 4430/ITA/MAC/SBERLINGUETTE
USDOC PASS USPTO FOR PFOWLER, KHAUDA
BANGKOK FOR DOJ CHRIS SONDERBY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR BEXP RP
SUBJECT: EMBASSY IPR ROUNDTABLE HIGHLIGHTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR COOPERATION

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED – NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION – PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

REF: A) MANILA 05 05447
B) MANILA 05 05839

——-
SUMMARY
——-

¶1. (SBU) At an Embassy-sponsored roundtable discussion
on intellectual property rights (IPR) on May 11,
private sector participants acknowledged a heightened
level of engagement by the GRP, but expressed concern
over weak enforcement. Many industries are
implementing targeted strategies to improve IPR
protection including public-private partnerships with
the GRP and public education campaigns. Intellectual
Property Office Director General Adrian Cristobal
assured participants of the GRP’s continued commitment
to a strong IP system as demonstrated by ongoing work
under its internal action plan. The Ambassador
congratulated the GRP for recent progress but
underscored the need for further work. She encouraged
stronger teamwork among the USG, private sector, and
GRP agencies to advance IPR enforcement and initiatives
to strengthen protection and appreciation of benefits
of IPR for the Philippine economy. END SUMMARY.

——————————————
EMBASSY HOSTS ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON IPR
——————————————

¶2. (U) The Embassy held its third “Roundtable on
Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR) to promote positive
initiatives to improve IPR protection in the
Philippines, which involved about 70 participants from
the private sector, other diplomatic missions, the GRP,
and the USG. The program was divided into two parts.
During the first part, USG and private sector
participants discussed the state of IPR protection in
the Philippines since its movement from the Special 301
Priority Watch List to the Watch List in February 2006.
The Ambassador opened the second part of the program,
for which the GRP joined the Embassy and private sector
participants in the roundtable. Intellectual
Property Office Director General Adrian Cristobal
delivered a presentation on GRP accomplishments and
strategies for improving IPR protection, which was
followed by general discussion. Other GRP participants
included officials from the Justice Department,
Customs, the National Police, and the Supreme Court, as
well as the Chief State Prosecutor, Deputy Prosecutor,
Optical Media Board Chairman Edu Manzano, and a well-
known judge, Antonio Eugenio, who has an extensive
background in IPR cases.

——————————————— —–
GRP ENERGIZED, BUT ENFORCEMENT REMAINS A CHALLENGE
——————————————— —–

¶3. (SBU) Industry participants acknowledged progress,
but pointed out that enforcement remains a major
problem because of lengthy judicial delays, lack of
transparency, and corruption. Levi Strauss Company
cited a decade-old case that the GRP just now will
begin prosecuting since the courts over the last ten
years have had to address interlocutory appeals. Many
noted that prosecution of IPR violators lacks
transparency: judges often quash search warrants
without explanation and issue rulings inconsistent with
other cases. Venue is another issue, as cases are
often tried in provincial courts, which may be
susceptible to local influence. Participants also
expressed concern that the judicial process and
sentencing provisions do not serve as effective
deterrents to IPR violators.

¶4. (SBU) Participants said that GRP support for IPR
protection has been lukewarm, particularly with regard
to copyright protection. Participants reported mixed
results in dealing with the Intellectual Property
Office (IPO), the Optical Media Board (OMB), and other
agencies. Participants commented that most senators
and congressmen appear to recognize the value of IP

MANILA 00002160 002 OF 004

rights, but are often subject to political pressure by
interest groups. Representatives of the Pharmaceutical
and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP)
said that the GRP has been largely unresponsive to its
key issues, such as Senate Bill 2139, otherwise known
as the Roxas Bill (ref A) and the implementing rules
and regulations to Executive Order 51, or the “Milk
Code” (ref B). Microsoft reported tepid local business
support for IPR enforcement efforts due to fear of
negative political ramifications. However, some
participants, including Microsoft and the Cable and
Satellite Broadcast Association of America (CASBAA),
successfully engaged the IPO on programs where they
collaborate and provide funding and/or technical
assistance to GRP agencies.

——————————————
DIALOGUE FOCUSES ON STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
——————————————

¶5. (U) Industry presenters highlighted strategies for
improving IPR in the Philippines, which include
initiatives on enforcement, public education, and
greater cooperation with the GRP. CASBAA’s anti-piracy
program is aimed at disrupting illegal programming
through judicial and police activities. Beginning in
September 2005, CASBAA financed surprise raids on four
cable companies and repeat raids on two. All companies
quickly resumed broadcasting, but one company stopped
airing illegal programming. CASBAA noted that many in
the cable industry took notice and CASBAA hopes the
raids serve as a deterrent to other would-be pirates.
CASBAA is also filing criminal and administrative
complaints against cable pirates, acknowledging that
while the judicial process is arduous, it is also
disruptive to the pirating company. CASBAA commenced a
public relations campaign in October 2005 aimed to
persuade companies using illegal programming to “go
legit,” to create a sense of public rejection of
piracy, and to publicize enforcement actions through
newspaper articles and television commercials. CASBAA
has proposed a joint “Cable Piracy Summit” with the
GRP. CASBAA said that the Mission’s support has been
essential to their efforts.

¶6. (U) The heart of Microsoft’s IP approach is to
build a “strong IP ecosystem” by focusing on
development of the local software industry in order to
create local demand for IPR protection as well as
opportunities for economic growth. One example is the
“Fly High 2010” campaign, a public-private
collaborative growth plan for the Philippine software
industry, which includes IPR protection as a key
strategy. Microsoft also targets enforcement efforts
both independently and through the Business Software
Alliance (BSA). In August 2005, BSA collaborated with
the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the OMB,
and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on a
“Countdown-Crackdown” campaign, which targeted law
enforcement raids on software pirates. BSA also
spearheaded licensing compliance efforts with less than
desired results. Microsoft noted that collaboration
with the GRP can improve the net result; Countdown-
Crackdown resulted in a much higher magnitude of
compliance, which was sustained through the first
quarter of 2006.

¶7. (U) Levi Strauss Company’s self-described
aggressive brand protection strategy includes trademark
registration, enforcement, lobbying, and training and
education. Through its “Show No Mercy” program, the
company pledged to make infringement as economically
unfeasible as possible through relentless enforcement.
Levi Strauss actively lobbies the GRP, including IPO,
NBI, Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Department of
Justice (DOJ) and is participating in many anti-
counterfeiting coalitions. In training and education,
Levi Strauss conducted brand protection workshops with
Customs familiarizing officials with trademarks,
designs, and methods for identifying counterfeits.
Levi Strauss will be embarking on a project with IPO in
October 2006 to increase brand awareness and engage in
further education through participation in public
events and advertisements.

MANILA 00002160 003 OF 004

¶8. (SBU) With the RP’s removal from the Priority Watch
List, industry participants stressed that measures to
build and ensure transparency within the RP judicial
system are imperative since this is where enforcement
of IP laws tends to break down. Embassy officials
encouraged the industries to identify both alleged
infringers, and judges and prosecutors who allegedly
enable them. That information, if deemed credible, may
now be included in the Embassy’s consular lookout
system. While such lookouts may not necessarily result
in a visa denial, the information may be a useful tool
for consular officers.

¶9. (U) Cisco Systems described tactics that have been
successful in Singapore, including raids on infringing
companies, seizure of assets of these companies and
their principal officers, and use of funds from these
assets for children’s programs. Embassy officers
encouraged private sector participants to share best
practices from ASEAN countries with the GRP.
Participants agreed that creating IP courts would help
eliminate the current practice of trying cases in
provincial courts.

¶10. (U) In her remarks, the Ambassador underscored the
common economic interests of the U.S. and the RP in
achieving stronger IPR protection. She congratulated
the GRP for recent improvements and initiatives that
led to its removal from the Priority Watch List but
noted that there is still work to be done. The
Ambassador encouraged the private sector to continue
working with both the U.S. and the Philippine
governments. The Ambassador noted that effective
teamwork would strengthen enforcement critical to new
investment, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.

——————————————— –
GRP LOOKS TO SUSTAIN IMPROVEMENTS IN IP REGIME
——————————————— –

¶11. (U) IPO Director General Adrian Cristobal’s
presentation focused on defining achievements and
outlined strategies for sustaining those improvements
in order to strengthen the RP’s intellectual property
system. Cristobal emphasized that there is political
will to improve IPR protection at the highest levels of
the GRP, specifically citing President Arroyo’s recent
policy statements linking IPR protection to the GRP’s
war against poverty and tying IP to the RP national
interest. Cristobal told participants that creative
strategies to maximize resources are necessary, as
resources for IPR enforcement are shared with other
enforcement priorities. He suggested that IP owners
look at increased investment in public education and
brand protection.

¶12. (U) Cristobal cited a number of recent policy
directives and initiatives that further clarify
responsibilities and strengthen government agencies in
charge of IPR enforcement. He said that there is an
increased awareness of IP issues in the general public
and within certain public sectors. Cristobal’s
highlighted successes: 28 convictions for IPR
violators between 2004 and the first quarter of 2006;
targeted training for judges and prosecutors on IPR; a
public outreach campaign; and public-private
partnerships with various companies and industry
associations. IPO’s ongoing goals include creating an
IP Academy, expanding cooperation with IPR
stakeholders, and building public awareness.
Cristobal said that the GRP’s continued work on key IPR
initiatives will ensure further improvements in the
Philippines’ IP system.

¶13. (SBU) In a follow-on discussion, Cristobal
detailed plans for the IPO’s unclassified, web-based
IPR enforcement database, which is expected to be
operational in June 2006. Case details, including
information on prosecutors, judges, and general case
status, will be included in the database. (Note: The
website is already partially constructed. However, it
may take several months before it is fully operational
due to interagency procedural concerns that need to be
addressed. End Note.)

MANILA 00002160 004 OF 004

¶14. (U) With respect to pharmaceutical patents,
Cristobal reassured the group that the Philippines
protects all patents for the full duration of those
patents, as provided under the law. On illegal
importation of IPR infringing goods, Cristobal said
that the Bureau of Customs recently signed a Memorandum
of Understanding with China, pledging mutual
cooperation and detailing specific procedures for
handling such goods. The GRP noted difficulties in
coordinating with IP rights holders on suspected
infringement cases. The IPO is developing a database
of IP owners, but requires assistance in determining an
efficient mechanism for contacting them.

———
COMMENTS
———

¶15. (SBU) The general tone of the discussion was
positive and forward-looking. While many private
sector representatives acknowledged a heightened level
of GRP attention and progress since the 301 Priority
Watch List decision in February 2005, they expressed
concern about ongoing problems, especially enforcement.
Several participants commented that the Embassy
roundtable assured them that the USG is maintaining
pressure on the GRP. Cristobal’s presentation also
conveyed that the GRP is looking to build on
improvements it has already made and not rest on its
laurels. Many private sector participants said that
the event was helpful and constructive, and suggested
that the Embassy also facilitate smaller roundtables to
focus on specific issues.

¶16. (SBU) By having industries focus on successful
strategies for engaging the GRP, Post hoped to
encourage a sharing of ideas and further collaboration
across industry sectors and with GRP agencies. Those
industries and companies who have clearly defined
strategies that includes positive cooperation with the
GRP, such as CASBAA, Levi Strauss, and Microsoft,
express more optimism about the prospects for improved
IPR protection within their industry sector. A common
IPO complaint is that some of the most vocal critics of
the quality of IP protection in the Philippines, such
as the International Intellectual Property Alliance
(IIPA) and the Association of American Publishers, have
not engaged the GRP on any level. Private sector
involvement is an important component of Post’s
strategy to improve IPR. Roundtables are a useful tool
for defining problems, encouraging cooperation and
reinforcing GRP commitments to progress.

¶17. (SBU) The GRP remains highly engaged on IPR and has
a defined strategy for moving forward in 2007. GRP
attendance at Post’s roundtables have been high, but
key enforcement agencies have not consistently
attended. The unprecedented participation of several
senior Department of Justice officials, including the
Chief State Prosecutor, the Assistant State Prosecutor,
and a senior judge, was particularly encouraging.

   

 

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