Thursday, 7 May 2009

Urgent action required as counterfeiting expected to increase

Business Daily has published an excellent synopsis of the predicted effect of the global meltdown on counterfeiting in East Africa with a focus on Kenya. However, it will be relevant across Africa too. Dominique Patton and Jim Onyango neatly outline a number of factors which will increase counterfeiting, including increased trade between Africa and China, the decreased purchasing power of consumers inviting them to switch to counterfeit goods, relatively porous borders (especially as Europe tightens), weak or nonexistent intellectual property laws (though that is changing in East Africa), increased sophistication of counterfeiters coupled with a need in China to maintain levels of production as legitimate demand decreases, and low consumer awareness. You can read more here.

Meanwhile as the Indian Premier League Twenty Twenty cricket competition has been drawing substantial crowds in South Africa, a company known as K B J Asset Holdings (PTY) Limited has seen it appropriate to misappropriate the names of the sides by filing for them as trade marks for "Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities, soccer sport, rugby & cricket". At the end of each application there is a signature below which the signor claims that the trade mark applied for is in use or intended for use by the applicant and that the applicant is the bona fide proprietor of the trade mark. Sure. However, steps can be taken by the franchises as outlined in an earlier post here. South African law will recognise rights in the reputation of the IPL cricket sides by virtue of the tournaments and exposure around them over the last two years.

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