Friday 11 November 2011

Darren Olivier

Anti-Counterfeit Friday

Singing against counterfeits
This post is a regular post every other Friday to highlight counterfeiting and piracy on the continent. For previous posts please click here. If you wish to send material for posting, please email us at

Chinese Engagement Brings Heightened Interest (AllAfrica) An excellent, if not condescending, look at US v China interest in Africa. Counterfeiting highlighted as a major concern, IP (tech transfer) stated as one of the (only) advantages for the US but a collaborative approach is suggested by the author. Afro Leo says: with 1/7th of the world's population, it is such a pity that Africa (or more likely, a group of the African states) cannot itself respond and use the opportunities more effectively. 

Kenya: Chaka Chaka Launches Anti-Counterfeit campaign (AllAfrica) Interpol and signers Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Yousso N'Dour launched a music campaign to fight counterfeit medicine in Africa. Apparently 700 000 die each year from fake TB and malaria drugs alone. True story. You can listen to it and an interview with Chaka Chaka, herself a victim of extensive music piracy, here.

Seized counterfeit goods donated to charity - another example of charity from the UK which may actually do more harm than good for the African fight against counterfeits.

Police have arrested a truck driver after he was caught with counterfeit cigarettes worth R4 million at a border post between South Africa and Botswana. Eyewitnessnews

Last but certainly not least Afro Leo received an alarming message that Microsoft is losing up to 80% of its revenue in Kenya because of pirated software. And the percentage is higher in other African states. This follows a "cut price" strategy reported on by Afro-IP in 2008 here together with comments from Paul and Aurelia.

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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12 November 2011 at 08:48 delete

In regard to your last paragraph on software piracy, Microsoft East and Southern Africa two days ago launched an "Amnesty" Campaign with Kenya's Copyright Office to get users to trade-in their pirated software for genuine software without penalty. They're also offering discounts and other advantages to those that do regularise their software licenses within the 30 day amnesty period.

The Campaign also aims to educate the public on the large amounts of high quality counterfeit software in the market and 'innocent' users are duped into buying them thinking that they are genuine.

Here's the link:

12 November 2011 at 20:42 delete

"Seized counterfeit goods donated to charity - another example of charity from the UK which may actually do more harm than good for the African fight against counterfeits."

I'm unsure which issue is being addressed here: the IP issue, or the other issue of dumping of goods into Africa.

I notice that in the UK that Trading Standards officers nowadays seem liable to donate seized infringing goods to charity, rather than consign them to bonfires, eg:
"Counterfeit goods worth £100,000 which were seized by Powys trading standards have been given to charity."
In that article it goes on to explain: "It has passed on clothing to drugs charity Kaleidoscope and Gwalia Care and Support after it removed the fake branding."

This present post references actions taken by Trading Standards in Leicestershire, UK. Reading the article one learns that "the haul" has "been collected by the National Police Aid Convoys (NPAC) who will ‘debrand’ the items and distribute them to areas in the world where humanitarian aid is needed".

I read the magic word 'debranded'. I have to ask myself how a man wearing a pair of debranded Calvin Klein boxer shorts is of concern to the Calvin Klein Trademark Trust and ultimately the PVH Corp.

There is a second potential issue, of course. Is any of the clothing liable to cause the closure of a local garment factory and the local cotton farmers to go out of business, or even the local market traders in secondhand imported clothes to have problems? I trust that charities are a lot wiser these days in this respect.

Perhaps NPAC itself would like to comment on this? (I have found NPAC's own website at and might we hear from Trading Standards in the UK?

16 November 2011 at 12:03 delete

The items we send are a minute part of large consignments of choice school and medical equipment. The counterfeit and other clothing is used as packaging and fillers and (not that it matters in such remote places), branding labels and packing are all removed before dispatch.

None of our goods (clothing or otherwise) is competitively marketed or sold on, they are a humanitarian donation to very remote places and their value is 'useful' not comparable.

Not all counterfeit clothing is poor quality; in my experience much of the clothing is over production of the good quality items. NPAC vet all the items they send and are sensitive to issues of 'dumping' rubbish in the developing world.