A lecture-forum entitled: “Intellectual Property andE-Commerce Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities” was held last January 31,2018 at the Abbot Lopez Hall, San Beda College Manila. The key speaker wasProf. Doris Estelle Long, an American expert on international intellectualproperty law. The forum practically evolved on understanding how intellectual propertyrelates to E-Commerce and the challenges and opportunities that comes with it.
Prof. Long first introduced the two differentmarkets in E-commerce – the online shopping and the hard goods shopping. She explained that as E-commerce grows to be amajor force in the industry, the danger and threats also become progressivelygreater. Hence, the three differententities which operate in E-commerce namely the Internet Service Provider(ISP), website operator and the individual players should play a role inprotecting the rights of an Intellectual Property. Some of concrete examplesgiven are by actively monitoring sellers for illegal goods, taking down goodsor blocking access on notice and imposing fines and penalties.
As E-commerce occurs globally, she pointedout that laws on Intellectual property vary from country to country so thelevels of protection may be different which may posed a jurisdictional problemsince it quite unclear which court will have jurisdiction in case of intellectualproperty disputes relating to E-commerce.I agree on the statement of Prof. Long that asE-commerce grows, the threats and danger will also increase. It can be seen onthe number of sites which offers free download of movies or series or onlineshops which offers goods at a lower price compared to what is sold in thedepartment stores yet the quality is compromise or those websites using photosor clips of another without authorization. From these situations, many people benefitwithout payment, however, benefit of one result to a loss on others. Thereclearly exists a free-rider problem.
As E-commerce will be the way of conducting tradefor the years to come, more and more commodities will be transacted online. Withoutintellectual property laws, there will be more piracy and infringement. It maylead to lesser supply of researches and innovations which is bad for theeconomy. Hence, as Prof.
Long suggested, there is a really a growing need for regulation.This is a signal for the lawmakers in the Philippines to review theIntellectual Property Law on Electronic Commerce and adapt with the changes andadvancement in the field. It may be hard at the start but with great researchand collaboration with other countries, it is not impossible to come up with strictermeasures of protection, a more defined intellectual property laws and policiesand effective and efficient way of implementation. Intellectual property in E-commerce is not givenmuch attention yet it is an important component of E-commerce. It may be due tothe fact that it is hard to understand or there are fewer discussions about it.Hence, this lecture occurred at a favorable or useful time. It gave me anopportunity to have a clearer and more factual picture of the current state ofIntellectual Property in E-Commerce.
It is apparent that the subject matter notonly requires the attention of the lawmakers but also the end-users. We need tobe updated and knowledgeable on the latest developments on intellectualproperty laws and E-commerce. Together with the government, we should pursue onusing intellectual property rights as a market catalyst rather than a marketbarrier. .