Sellers of fake products in Greenhills diminishing

Sellers of fake products in Greenhills diminishing
Photo courtesy of IPOPHL

As the government is getting more aggressive in apprehending vendors of fake products, it is said that the number of establishments that are selling counterfeit items in Greenhills Shopping Center (GSC) in San Juan City is now diminishing.

This was bared by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, following their recent meeting with GSC Assistant Vice President and Trade Fairs and Exhibits Head James Candelaria who presented ongoing developments in its campaign to encourage its flea market traders to shift away from counterfeit products.

Candelaria reported to IPOPHL director-general, Atty. Rowel Barba, that they are pushing the GSC 10-year roadmap, which aims to gradually move 100 percent of its merchants away from selling intellectual property (IP) infringing products by 2027.

He said that starting in 2020, GSC management decided to reduce the number of stalls to 1,412 from 1,771.

Further, he said that as of October 2023, 80 percent of the traders have gone through the transition program and are now selling local products, Halal items, jewelry, antiques, furniture pieces, and artworks.

He also showed that over the years since the implementation of the roadmap, the mall was able to weed out nearly 299 stores by suspension.

Moreover, he said that the GSC suspended stores that violate its rules, including IP rules, and majority of the suspended sellers, according to Candelaria, do not return to GSC.

“What we have done so far is really to educate our traders along the way, to tell them that it’s time to change and that there are other products to profit from,” said Candelaria.

Some of GSC’s notable and recent education initiatives include a learning event with the Department of Trade and Industry attended by over 400 merchants and “Bagsakan” events where the GSC showcases local products traders could explore selling.

Also, since 2022, the mall has refused to accept applicants who intend to sell bags, watches and similar products, except where local manufacturers or labeled products are involved. The category usually makes up a big share of the counterfeit products seized by the National Committee on IP Rights (NCIPR).

The GSC also provided incentives to stores that sell local delicacies and items, placing them at premium locations, which stand at various entrances of the building where the flea market is located.

The meeting last 9 May was also attended by the legal representatives of luxury brands, who were able to discuss solutions with GSC for their teams to better monitor stores.

Also in attendance were NCIPR members, such as the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Customs.

The dialogue was followed by a brief tour, through which GSC showed the new mall building, filled with well-known apparel brands and food stores, and the flea market.

Barba, during the tour, reminded stall owners of the importance of selling original products, noting IPOPHL will soon conduct an IP briefing with them to help them transition to legitimate goods.

“We laud the commitment of the GSC to work together with its merchants to create a fairer and more IP-conscious business environment. We look forward to seeing more positive outcomes from this transition program,” Barba said.

Meanwhile, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, who had been informed of the developments at the mall, lauded the GSC and its merchants for a more active approach to respect IP and urged other counterfeiting hotspots to follow suit.

“We call on other malls to look at the GSC as an example and see how good business practices can be done gradually,” added Secretary Pascual, who is also chair of the NCIPR.

While the GSC is the lone physical market flagged in the United States Trade Representative Notorious Markets Lists, it is joined by the Cartimar Shopping Center and the markets of Baclaran and Divisoria in the European Commission’s Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List.

Daily Tribune