Sep 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/03/06MANILA990.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA990 2006-03-03 07:51 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0990 0620751
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030751Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9724
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS MANILA 000990

SIPDIS
CORRECTED COPY – CAPTION ADDED
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EB/TPP
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR BWEISEL AND DKATZ
USDOC FOR SBERLINGUETTE
USDOC PASS TO USPTO FOR PFOWLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR KCOR RP
SUBJECT: NEW DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMS IP UNIT PROMISES INCREASED VIGILANCE

REF: MANILA 00244

——-
SUMMARY
——-

¶1. (SBU) The Intellectual Property (IP) Unit at Customs is
under new management again, for the third time since its
inception in 2003. Former IP Unit head, Attorney Eden
Dandal, was replaced by Attorney Willie Sarmiento, who was
Chief of Staff to the new Customs Commissioner, Napoleon
Morales when he was the Chief Collector at the Port of
Batangas. Sarmiento expressed enthusiasm for his new role as
IP Unit Chief, despite his admission to having no experience
with intellectual property rights (IPR) issues.

————————————–
CUSTOMS PROMISES MORE VIGILANCE ON IPR
————————————–

¶2. (SBU) Willie Sarmiento was appointed as the new head of
the IP Unit at the Bureau of Customs on January 3, 2006. In
a meeting with Econoff and Commercial Counselor on January
24, Sarmiento said that he does not have any experience with
IPR issues but that, “rest assured, during my watch, IP will
be more vigilant than ever.” He added that he is planning to
intensify the drive against all kinds of piracy and wants
field agents to be more visible, particularly in examination
areas. He expressed enthusiasm for the assignment and said
that the job is very exciting. However, Sarmiento
acknowledged that he was reluctant to accept the assignment
at first because the position is responsible not only for IP,
but also for internal investigations. He was later assured
that his job entailed “80 to 90 percent IPR” and very little
internal investigation, which encouraged him to accept the
position. Sarmiento’s previous post was as Chief of Staff to
Commissioner Morales when Morales was the District Collector
in Batangas.

¶3. (SBU) Sarmiento is focused on observing operations,
learning what he can, and identifying personnel needs. The
unit currently has 11 agents stationed at five ports around
the country and three lawyers. Since its inception, the Unit
has been under-staffed and under-resourced. Sarmiento said
that the BOC’s rationalization plan, reported in reftel,
would make the IP Unit autonomous, under the Division of
Legal Affairs, possibly qualifying it for additional
resources.

¶4. (SBU) In the two weeks preceding our visit, Sarmiento
reported that his unit had issued warrants for three
shipments of alleged IPR infringing goods, one container from
Pakistan and two from China. He showed us a Rigid brand
industrial pipe cleaner that had “made in the USA” marked on
the packaging. The fact that the container had been shipped
directly from China tipped off the inspector. The eight
pallets of goods are being held since the importer cannot
show that the products were actually made in the U.S. He
also showed us poor quality medical scissors imported from
Pakistan that were stamped with “German Stainless.” They
also happened to have a rubbed out, but still legible “made
in Pakistan” engraved on them.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶5. (SBU) The move to replace Dandal as the head of the
Customs IP Enforcement Unit is disappointing. Attorney
Dandal attended several USG sponsored IPR training programs,
seemed to grasp the importance of IPR protection, and was
making progress toward establishing the IP Unit as en
effective enforcement mechanism. Starting over again with
yet another director could delay further progress. However,
Sarmiento does seem enthusiastic about the job and eager to
learn more about IPR. Sarmiento will be attending USPTO’s
March Academy on IPR enforcement. Embassy will continue to
work to identify training opportunities and collaborate on
IPR protection. Establishing the unit’s autonomy under the
rationalization plan would do much to strengthen its
enforcement role and could bring it much needed resources.
Jones

   

 

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