PROTECTION RULE

KAM wants regional data base to fight counterfeits

This, it says, will help in the fight against counterfeit goods coming into Kenya.

In Summary

•Manufacturers also want enactment of the East African Community Anti-Counterfeit Bill which has been pending at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) since 2012.

•Local industries say they are losing market to counterfeits and illicit trade in the country.

Anti-counterfeit inspector Ibrahim Bulle displays fake cigarettes impounded at the Port of Mombasa/FILE
Anti-counterfeit inspector Ibrahim Bulle displays fake cigarettes impounded at the Port of Mombasa/FILE

Manufacturers in Kenya are pushing for the implementation of a database to help lock out counterfeit goods from the country.

This is under the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Recordation Regulations being implemented by the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA).

A counterfeit is a product made in exact imitation of something valuable with the intention to deceive or defraud.

Counterfeiters target reputable brands but offer their products at cheaper prices in the market.

IPR Recordation involves the creation of a database of IPR information relating to trademarks, copyrights, trade names, or any other protected intellectual property rights, for all goods to be imported into Kenya.

This information will be made available on the authority’s public system and shall be used by ACA inspectors and other law enforcement officers at the various points of entry, to prevent the entry of counterfeit imports into Kenya.

According to the regulation, counterfeit imports shall be subjected to proactive seizures and forfeiture or prosecution in accordance with the provisions of the Anti-Counterfeit Act.

Goods bearing IPRs that are not recorded with ACA shall be prevented from being imported into Kenya.

“We must move with speed to implement the regulations. Illicit trade threatens the welfare of consumers, erodes the market share of genuine manufacturers, threatens the expansion of industries, and hampers the creation of job opportunities,” KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga said.

ACA had set July 1, 2022 as the deadline for industry players and agents to have completed Recordation of IPR through its Integrated Management System, and its implementation started.

However, this has been moved to January 2023, ACA public relations officer Tom Muteti said.

“We had a good response but we have had to extend the deadline for purpose of compliance,” Muteti told the Star on the telephone yesterday.

Manufacturers also want enactment of the East African Community (EAC) Anti-Counterfeit Bill which has been pending at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) since 2012.

This, they say will help address the surging counterfeits in the market and the region.

According to the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), 78 per cent of consumers in Kenya buy counterfeit goods because they are cheaper compared to original brands.

The most counterfeited goods are electrical and electronics, mobile phones, food and beverages (mainly alcohol), cigarettes, cosmetics, clothing, leather, and foot wear, with illicit trade in the country estimated at about Sh820 billion.

Illicit trade from counterfeiters denies Kenya Revenue Authority up to Sh153.1 billion annually, according to a survey by ACA.

The country is also losing between Sh85 billion and Sh100 billion annually to counterfeiting activities alone. 

KAM has further called on the government to re-activate the Multi-Agency Task Force against illicit to identify and shut down the source of illicit goods.

Most of the counterfeits are imported from Kenya’s key trading partners mainly China, India, Uganda, UAE, Turkey, Netherlands, France, Germany, the US, South Africa and the UK.

Noting that Kenya is a net importer of consumable goods, the recordation process applies to IPRs of goods being imported into the country irrespective of the jurisdiction of registration.

IPR Recordation has been lauded as one of the most effective international best practices in prohibiting the importation of counterfeit goods.

Kenya is the second country in Africa to adopt IPR Recordation after South Africa which administers recordation through their Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

Other jurisdictions that have embraced IPR Recordation include China, Mauritius, and Indonesia. 

“We urge the government to recognise Intellectual Property Rights protection and enforcement. This will assure investors of a competitive, free and fair market, devoid of unfair competition from counterfeit goods,” Wakiaga said.

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