San Juan mall in US ‘notorious list’ of markets for fake goods: IPOPHL

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2022 09:34 PM

Some of the counterfeit luxury goods seized by the NBI from a San Juan mall. Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News 
Some of the counterfeit luxury goods seized by the NBI from a San Juan mall. Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News 

MANILA - The government body tasked with enforcing intellectual property laws said authorities raided Greenhills Shopping Center on Monday over complaints from a brand owner about sales of counterfeit goods in the mall. 

The National Bureau of Investigation raided the popular San Juan mall today and seized P69 million worth of counterfeit bags, belts, wallets, and other items, illegally using luxury brand logos. 

The NBI Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) implemented a search warrant after a representative of luxury brand Louis Vuitton filed an intellectual property rights complaint with the agency.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said the San Juan mall had landed in the US Trade Representatives’ 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy. The list was released in February. 

IPOPHL Deputy Director-General for Enforcement Teodoro Pascua meanwhile said the agency would seek the mall management’s help stop the sale of fake goods. 

“Hindi lang Greenhills, in all other malls that we have already observed, we will bring this to management, and we will ask management to help us. Not to threaten us or make them explain, but to help us stamp this out," Pascua said. 

ABS-CBN reached out via email to Ortigas & Company, the owners of the Greenhills Shopping Center for comment but they have yet to respond as of this posting.

NBI IPRD Chief Glenn Ricarte explained that the trademark owner loses revenue from the sale of fake items, and consequently , the government also loses taxable income.

Ricarte says they will subpoena the mall management to provide them the list of stall owners that were caught selling fake luxury items., and file IPR charges.

Pascua meanwhile said that the Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Bureau of Customs will also help investigate counterfeiters for other violations including engaging in business without a proper visa, tax evasion, and smuggling. 

The value of government seized counterfeit goods has actually been increasing, Pascua said. 

In 2018, the government seized P23.5 billion worth of fake goods. While this dipped to P9 billion in 2020 because of the pandemic, it rebounded in 2021 to P24.9 billion. 

- Report from Niko Baua and Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News