Thursday, 18 July 2019

Chijioke Ifeoma Okorie

Thoughts on INTA's Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products [Nigeria Country Report]

In May, the International Trademark Organisation (INTA) published several country reports on the attitudes of Gen Z (for the purposes of the Report, those between the ages of 18 and 23) to buying and selling of counterfeits or fake products. The reports involve results from a survey undertaken in 10 countries: Nigeria, Argentina, Indonesia, China, Japan, Russia, India, United States, Italy and Mexico.
This post presents an overview of and thoughts on the report concerning Nigeria (the Report). The sample size for Nigeria's market is smaller than other markets due to limited sampling feasibility.

Here is an overview of the Report:
The Report acknowledges the significance of Gen Z to the global consumer base. The selection of the 10 countries was based on factors such as population size of Gen Z in those countries, prevalence of counterfeit goods and economic development. See page 4. Further, the Report based the survey on the three characteristics that define Gen Z's generational identity and that influence the purchase behaviour of counterfeit products: individuality, morality and flexibility. See page 6.

In addition to these considerations, the Report also defined "fake products" as "an exact imitation of a brand's product and its packaging". See page 5. 

Key findings
The Report presents the results from "Virtual Qualitative Phase" where respondents from Argentina, India, Russia and the United States were asked to complete 3 days' worth of activities online, and a second Quantitative Phase comprising of respondents from all the selected countries. This second phase was informed by findings from the virtual qualitative phase and required respondents to complete a 25-minute online survey. See page 5.

Here are some of the key findings on Nigeria:
  • Income is a top determinant of whether a Nigerian Gen Zer will purchase fakes; with morality coming a close second. See page 21.
  • Almost all the respondents (97%) have purchased fakes in the recent past.
  • Clothes, shoes and accessories are the top-purchased fake products.
  • Media personalities, social media influencers and brands' creators or employees, are Gen Z's top three credible sources for learning about fakes. 
  • In terms of knowledge of IPRs such as copyright and trademarks, respondents from all countries are above 75%. For Nigeria, respondents that knew about IPRs are in the bottom 3 countries with 79%. See pages 9 and 19.
  • Nigerian Gen Zers top the list of those who have purchased fakes in the past year. See page 10.
  • The global (the 10 countries) and national (Nigeria) average for number of fake food and beverages and personal care products seen by Gen Zers is low compared to other products. Page 11.
  • The top 3 media for Gen Zers in terms of usage and awareness are Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. See pages 15 and 21.
  • Only few (29%) are proud to show off a good fake to friends; but majority (95%) believe they deserve to know if the product they are buying is fake or genuine. See page 22.
Some thoughts
What to think of all these?
  • It is said that food, clothing and shelter are the most basic human needs. It therefore makes sense that clothing (apparel and shoes) is the most purchased fake product. Conversely, brands that will do well in Nigeria are likely to be brands that give a "high-end" feel but are reasonably priced.
  • IP education needs to start early: Knowledge of IPRs at 79% of Gen Zers is low when it is considered that almost all the respondents have purchased fakes in the recent past. As McLean Sibanda suggested in the case of South Africa, IP education needs to start as early as primary school.
  • The number of Gen Zers who have purchased fakes in the recent past is quite high at 97%. In fact, Nigeria ranked highest for this question. This raises the issue of availability. Are the fakes made within Nigeria or are they imports? What is the ratio of fakes made in Nigeria to imported fakes?
  • The definition of "fakes" as exact imitation of a brand's product and its packaging when applied to food and beverages may need more context. Food scarcity is a huge problem in Nigeria and Africa generally. Whether fake food and beverages are safe or not may be a better determinant of purchase than the cost of the goods or the personal values of the Gen Zers. The Report bears this out in page 28 as majority rarely think of fakes when it comes to food products. For context, popular breakfast cereal brand, Kellog's started manufacturing some of its breakfast cereals in Nigeria in 2016. The Nigeria-made Kellog's cereals are cheaper and taste differently from the imported ones. Whether it tastes better or not, you will not read this on Afro-IP. Some opinions here.
  • There is a correlation between the top media in terms of awareness and usage and the kinds of fake products most purchased. Clothes, shoes and accessories are very much available on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Beyond being social media sites, these media are also sales points. This raises the question of what advertising regulations exist and how consumer protection law works for Gen Z consumers (and other consumers).
What do readers make of the Report's findings?

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Afro Leo

Nigeria: Copyright Progress

Efforts to reposition the Country’s Creative Sector received a boost as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCON, approved the 2017 draft Copyright bill. More recently, the NCC Board adopted a new operational strategy. This, in their steady progress to developing trust in the copyright regime in Nigeria.
The Bill was approved during the FEC meeting. Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. Afam Ezekude who disclosed this at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja noted that the approved Copyright Bill will be forwarded to the National Assembly for further legislative action. This was some time back.
The DG further stated that the draft Bill, upon passage will address issues of copyright infringements, enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission for effective administration and enforcement, among several other benefits including; Strengthening the creative industries in Nigeria for global competitiveness. Expanding the scope of copyright offences to include infractions on the digital platforms and provide more deterrent punishments for copyright violations. 
Facilitating Nigeria’s compliance with obligations arising under relevant international treaties which Nigeria has acceded to or ratified, including the four World Intellectual Property Organization’s administered treaties which Nigeria ratified on October 4, 2017. Strengthening investment prospects in the creative industry and expanding the revenue base for artists and performers and Enhancing royalty collection schemes for wealth creation. According to Mr. Ezekude, the draft Copyright Bill was necessitated by significant developments both in the domestic and international 
Copyright environment including the emergence of digital technologies which has presented opportunities for copyright pirates and posed various challenges for rights’ enforcement. While lauding the Federal Government for approving the bill, the DG, NCC stressed that the Commission and the entire stakeholders in the creative sector look forward to a speedy legislative action and passage of the Bill. 
Amos Abutu and Vincent Oyesfeso For: Director General of the NCC 
This is part of ongoing effort in Nigeria to reform copyright protection and which was launched in 2012. The NCC has featured in multiple posts on this blog. For more information type "NCC" or "Nigeria Copyright" using the search function on the Afro-IP website. This article, published on Mondaq, by John Onyido provides some good insight and commentary too.

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Afro Leo

South Africa: Notice of Fee Increase

The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, the body responsible for the registration of company names, trade marks, patents, designs and copyright in South Africa, announced this week that there will be a fee increase that will likely take place on 1 October. Neither the actual increase or the date is confirmed. It's just a head's up. Nice of them. File before October, that's a Leo tip!

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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Afro Leo

Laguiole ought to sharpen up - by Natacha Rey

Natacha Rey is no stranger to this portal and has been contributing to it in various forms since 2009. Now legal advisor to University of the Witwatersrand with significant experience in IP gained inhouse and in private practice, Natacha has decided to put the knife in, so to speak, on the state of protection of an industrious village in the heart of France, in this interesting guest post. You can follow and connect with Natasha through her Linkedin profile here.
I'm not sure if you have ever come across "LAGUIOLE" steak knives. They're really great, French knives that are razor sharp and remain sharp for years, without needing to sharpen them. I was lucky enough to receive a set about 6 years ago from my parents and they are still just as sharp as the day I received them. We recently received a set of 6 Laguiole knives and forks for our engagement and I was looking to get another matching set. In South Africa, I found a full "Laguiole" dinner cutlery set of 24 for approximately R2000. I took my search further abroad and found a similar "Laguiole" 24 piece set on Amazon for GBP21 (approximately R400). This raised some red flags in my IP-attorney brain. These surely must be counterfeit? 
So I started to look for the "original" LAGUIOLE brand and discovered that in fact, Laguiole is not a brand at all, but rather a small French village known for its traditional handcrafted knives. Knives made in the Laguiole region are handcrafted by one person, from start to finish. They are generally heavier than an ordinary knife and have a bee / fly welded to the metal part of the knife. Usually, the handle on a genuine Laguiole knife is made from natural materials such as wood or horn. 
However, the name LAGUIOLE and the bee device have not been protected as trade marks by any one proprietor, nor have they been protected as geographical indicators. As a result, the market has become flooded with so-called "Laguiole" knives that do not originate from the Laguiole region and have not been manufactured in the traditional way. Customers who would ordinarily use the bee device as an indicator of origin would be misled into believing ordinary knives are Laguiole knives because the bee has also not been protected in any form and is commonly used by all knife manufacturers in Laguiole and elsewhere.
Geographical indicators like Champagne, Port and Rooibos come to mind and the relevant authorities in Laguiole may want to invest in protecting its traditional craft and trade by means of acquiring geographical indicator protection (or perhaps a certification trade mark). In the meantime,manufacturers of these imitation products, which are expectantly of inferior quality, are taking full advantage of the lack of protection and the market is becoming cluttered with and diluted by products not originating from the Laguiole region. 
In the meantime, this is how you can spot a fake Laguiole knife for yourself: see links here, here and here.

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Friday, 21 June 2019

Chijioke Ifeoma Okorie

Register for the IP Researchers' Conference (South Africa) - The IP and IT Innovation Interface

As some readers of this blog may know, Afro-IP blogger and Professor of Law at the University of Cape Town, Caroline Ncube was awarded the inaugural South African Research Chair in Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Development at UCT.

Under the auspices of her Chair, Caroline is co-hosting the 3rd Annual Conference of the South African Association of Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology Law Teachers and Researchers (AIPLITL) on 1 - 2 July 2019. The other co-host for the Conference is the Intellectual Property Unit (IP Unit) also at UCT.

The theme this year is The IP and IT Innovation Interface. The Conference promises to be a perfect blend of insights from IP and IT law researchers, practitioners and teachers. Topics to be discussed include:

  • The international architecture of the protection of indigenous knowledge.
  • State use provisions for patent and expropriation law.
  • Multilingualism as a road to non-racialism: how copyright paves the way.
  • An update on IP policy developments in South Africa - carving a greater role for academia.
  • Legal-related aspects of 3D printing and food manufacturing in Nigeria.
  • Designs law and decentralised manufacturing: Issues, concerns, and realities.
  • Looking to competition law's domain for an equitable balance between incentivising creativity and promoting access under South Africa's copyright regime.
  • The protection of IP rights through blockchain technology: fiction or fruition.
  • using music recognition technologies in monitoring music plays in broadcasting stations in Africa: A case of Malawi.
  • IP, internet and the right to economic freedom
  • Legal aspects of information as a corporate asset
The conference will hold at the Oliver Tambo Moot Court, Faculty of Law, UCT. The speakers and moderators at the conference include both local (South Africa) and international researchers, government officials and industry practitioners including:
  • Dr. McLean Sibanda, The Bigen Group
  • Professor Steve Cornelius, University of Pretoria
  • Dr. Yonah Seleti, Department of Science and Technology
  • Professor Veit Erlmann, University of Texas (Austin)
  • Marumo Nkomo, Department of Trade and Industry
  • A/Professor Tobias Schonwetter, University of Cape Town
  • Professor Sunelle Geyer, UNISA
  • Dr. Joelle Nwabueze, Bern University
  • A/Professor Lee-Ann Tong, University of Cape Town
  • Professor Coenraad Visser, UNISA
You can read through the detailed program here.

registration for the conference has been on-going and ends 21st June 2019. However, readers of this blog may still register until 27th June 2019 by sending an email to with the subject: AFRO-IP READER.

Follow the conference on Twitter @aiplitl2019 with the hashtag #AIPLITL2019.

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Sunday, 21 April 2019

Afro Leo

Join LES in Cape Town on World IP Day

Links to the speakers:

The impressive Brian Steinhobel through his website Art Steinhobel.
The tax specialist and ENS executive - Mansoor Parker

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