Nairobi, Thursday May 16, 2019: The private sector has welcomed recent amendments in the Anti-Counterfeit Act as they have made it easier to deal with counterfeiters.
‘’There have been some amendments to the Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 underscoring the government’s commitment to fight anti-counterfeit trade and promote bona fide manufacturers and intellectual property owners in line with the Agenda 4,’’ Noted the PS for Trade, Dr. Chris Kiptoo during a press briefing. ‘’The amendments are aimed at providing more protection for trademark owners and boost the fight against counterfeits.’’
The press briefing was held on the sidelines of a stakeholder forum to review the proposed Amendments to the regulations for the Anti-Counterfeit Act.
The amendments have been well received by stakeholders as they state they will make it harder for counterfeiters to get away with the crime.
‘’Illicit alcohol has been our biggest concern in the alcoholic beverage industry, and we believe these amendments provide ACA with a robust legal mechanism to fight the menace. We now look forward to full implementation of these new amendments accompanied by a strong set of regulations to reinforce the changes,’’ Gordon Mutugi, Chair of the Alcoholic Beverage Association of Kenya (ABAK) noted on the amendments.
Some notable amendments to the Act include:
· The scope of counterfeiting has been extended to include the fact that goods counterfeited outside Kenya can now be impounded. This was previously limited to counterfeiting carried out in Kenya. This means that the ACA now has the power to impound items counterfeited outside the country at the entry points.
· Consumers now also play a pivotal role in promoting the fight against counterfeit products as the end users of the product. A consumer may lay a complaint if they suspect an item is counterfeit with the ACA for investigations. Previously, only complaints from trademark owners could be investigated.
· The Act gives an Inspector the power to investigate any offence relating to counterfeit even when the same is not an offence under the Act. This has been appreciated by industry players who felt they were not protected when there were grey areas
· In regard to importation of counterfeits, the Inspector now has the same power as that of a customs officer such as entry, examination, seizing and impounding of counterfeit goods. That’s why we are now able to conduct more robust inspections in ports of entry.
These are some highlights of the Amendments in the Act which have been very well received by industry stakeholders.