Voting Closed:

WAR ON ILLICIT TRADE

Anti-counterfeit body urges recording of intellectual property for protection

ACA says over 70 per cent of counterfeit in the country were imported.

In Summary

•ACA chairperson Flora Mutahi said the Authority had stepped up the war on all forms of illicit trade including counterfeiting.

•Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect.

Anti Counterfeit Authority Acting Executive director Frida Kaberia (L), Machakos County Water CEC Maurice Alwanga and ACA chairperson Flora Mutahi at Machakos People's Park on Thursday, June 9.
Anti Counterfeit Authority Acting Executive director Frida Kaberia (L), Machakos County Water CEC Maurice Alwanga and ACA chairperson Flora Mutahi at Machakos People's Park on Thursday, June 9.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

The Anti–Counterfeit Authority has told Kenyans to record their intellectual property so that they can be protected from counterfeiters.

ACA chairperson Flora Mutahi said the Authority had stepped up the war on all forms of illicit trade including counterfeiting.

“We conducted a baseline study in 2018 in which Machakos County became number four nationally among those where levels of illicit trade were highest,” Mutahi said.

Mutahi addressed the press in Machakos County on Thursday, June 9.

Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect.

There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more than others.

The best-known types are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. 

Licensing intellectual property allows the creators of IP the right to profit from their work by controlling who uses their creations. 

“We are here today in Machakos County commemorating the World Anti-counterfeit Day. Collaboration and taking the war to counties is the only way we are going to win this war on counterfeits,” Mutahi said.

“In 2018, the Authority conducted a baseline study and Machakos County became number four in counterfeit goods. All forms of illicit trade and counterfeit are one of them. We have contraband, counterfeits, tax evasion, and stealing of intellectual property,” she added.

Other notorious counties according to Mutahi were Nairobi, Mombasa, and Eldoret, according to the survey.

Mutahi said Sh762 billion had been lost to counterfeiters in the country, while the government lost Sh126 billion in revenue.

She said ACA had ridden off the market Sh3.4 billion in illicit goods and destroyed them.

She, however, noted that there had been a decline in rates of such kinds of illicit trade in the last five years due to the multiagency approach to fighting the crime.

Mutahi said they were engaging National and County government officials that included National Police Service bosses in counties and sub-counties, DCI officials, county government heads, and deputy county commissioners, among others to help in enforcement to rid the country of illicit trade.

“We are mandated by the law to stop counterfeiting through law enforcement and capacity building,” she said.

Mutahi said 70 per cent of counterfeit goods were imported. She noted that it was a sophisticated trade though since it wasn’t easy to identify counterfeit goods.

She said illicit trade was a challenge to the government's Agenda 4 projects.

It is risky to health, you have seen buildings collapse, manufacturers aren’t supported, jobs are lost, intellectual property stolen, and tax evaded.

“We are educating people on the importance of trade marking their products. The recording will ensure owners of the intellectual property enjoy the benefits of their creations.  The recording deadline has been extended from this July to January 2023,” Mutahi said.

On the online market, Mutahi said it was hard to monitor counterfeits, but they had put in place a team and who were already working on it with online counterfeiting being their main focus.

She said fertilizers and seeds are among the counterfeit products sold online.

Machakos deputy county commissioner David Rotich said this being an electioneering year, there could also be fake money circulating across the country.

Rotich said as a national government, they will use public barazas and other meetings to sensitize the public on illicit trade, especially counterfeits.

Some of the topics that will be discussed during the day included “Embracing technology for business facilitation and enhancing consumer protection” and “Combating counterfeiting and other forms of illicit trade in agriculture”, Mutahi said.

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