THE National Bureau of Investigation Intellectual Property Rights Division (NBI-IPRD) raided last August 17, 2023 the office of a Chinese-operated company in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig for the unauthorized use of the trade name and trademarks of a US-headquartered outdoor advertising company, Clear Channel Outdoor, to perpetuate an online investment scam.
The authorities swooped down on the premises of CCO Media Philippines located on the 21st floor of High Street South Corporate Plaza Tower 2 at the corner of 26th St. and 11th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City.
CCO Media Phils. was found to have been engaging in the widespread promotion, sale, or offering of an elaborate revenue-sharing investment scheme while representing themselves to be affiliated with and clothing their products to be coming from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., Clear Channel Outdoor and/or Clear Channel IP, LLC (collectively, Clear Channel USA), an American-based company and a market leader in the out-of-home advertising industry.
The raid was conducted by virtue on the search warrants issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court based on three offenses: Violations of Section 177.1 in relation to Sections 216 and 217 (Copyright Infringement), Section 168 in relation to Section 170 (Unfair Competition) and Section 169.1 in relation to Section 170 (False Designation of Origin; False Description or Representation) of Republic Act No. 8293, the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
During the raid, the NBI confiscated signages, promotional materials (banners and brochures), sundry items, merchandise (umbrellas, notebooks, and shirts), LED television, desktop and tablet computers, mobile phone, and other paraphernalia that bear or contain Clear Channel USA’s logos, trademarks and copyrighted materials, including an almost exact replica of Clear Channel USA’s 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report save for the last page which CCO Media Phils. doctored to indicate their contact details (in lieu of Clear Channel USA’s).
Through concerned Filipino consumers, Clear Channel USA discovered that its name and trademarks are being used by CCO Media Phils. without its authority. The local company also claimed to be the local branch or office of Clear Channel USA, and has misappropriated the “Clear Channel Outdoor” name, using the corporate and business names “Clear Channel Outdoor Asia Corp.,” “CCO Media,” and “CCO Media Philippines.”
The US-based firm discovered that CCO Media Phils. was able to register with the Securities Exchange of Commission (SEC) under the business name “Clear Channel Outdoor Asia Corp.”
In CCO Media Phils.’ SEC Certificate of Registration issued on June 7, 2023, it is indicated that it “does not authorize investment solicitation and investment taking without a secondary license from [the SEC].”
It also utilized the messaging app Telegram to recruit new members, and to entice existing members to invest additional funds facilitated by “investment advisors”.
With this, the American company is determined to take action against CCO Media Phils. on the basis of violations of the Intellectual Property Code, the Securities Regulations Code, and the Revised Penal Code. The items seized during the raid will be presented in court as evidence.