Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Anti-Counterfeiting in Cape Town - action groups unite

The City of Cape Town together with the International Trademark Association (INTA), the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) hosted a round table on February 13, 2014 that focused on the role between private and public sector groups in tackling counterfeiting. Vanessa Ferguson, head of the Anti-Counterfeiting department at local law firm DM Kisch was prominent in launching the event.

According to DM Kisch's press release, in excess of R2.5 billion in tax revenue is estimated to be lost on counterfeit cigarettes alone, annually. In 2010, counterfeiting was responsible for 14 400 job losses in the textile and clothing industries.

"Mr Siganda [City of Cape Town] reinforced The City’s commitment to clearing the streets of Cape Town of counterfeit goods and other illegal activities. Among the attendees were members from the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit, the National Prosecution Authority, the South African Police Services, Law Enforcement and The South African Revenue Service, Customs and Excise. There was also valuable input from the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification (NCRS), Film & Publications Board (FPB), Consumer Protection, brand holders and members of INTA and SAIIPL.

Speakers provided valuable information around current practices in combating counterfeiting in South Africa as well as alternative measures in the counterfeit battle, where reliance is placed on additional legislation outside the ambit of the Counterfeit Goods Act, which will support action against counterfeiters.

Outcomes from the deliberations were that there is an urgent need for changes to the current Counterfeit Goods Act as counterfeiters are becoming increasingly more sophisticated.  Until such time that the act is amended, both the public and private sector are committed to working together in taking effective action in respect of anti-counterfeiting practices."

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