Public and Private Sector united in the fight against Counterfeiting

The City of Cape Town together with the International Trademark Association (INTA), the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) and Government hosted a round table on February 13, 2014.

Hosted at the Cape Town Civic Centre, the purpose of the event was inter alia to discuss building an effective policy and framework in the fight against counterfeiting, as well as strengthening an already existing relationship that would allow information sharing and working together in order to improve anti-counterfeiting measures in the country.

As the largest economy in Africa, South Africa is the top destination for counterfeit goods, with tax revenue in excess of R2.5 billion estimated to be lost on just counterfeit cigarettes annually. In 2010, counterfeiting was responsible for 14 400 job losses in the textile and clothing industries alone.

Vanessa Ferguson, head of Anti-Counterfeiting at DM Kisch Inc and the convenor of the INTA MEASA (Middle East, Africa & South East Asia) Anti-Counterfeiting subcommittee and SAIIPL Anti-Counterfeiting committee,opened the event together with Thembinkosi Siganda, the Director of Economic Development from the City of Cape Town.

Mr Siganda 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 practises.

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of trade mark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trade marks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce. The INTA anti-counterfeiting committee is dedicated to evaluating treaties, laws, regulations, procedures and other enforcement mechanisms with respect to anti-counterfeiting and enforcement.

The South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) was established in 1952 and represents over 164 patent attorneys, patent agents, trade mark practitioners and academics in South Africa who specialise in the field of Intellectual Property Law. The SAIIPL is widely regarded as the custodian of South Africa's intellectual property rights, and comprises practicing attorneys, academics, practitioners in businesses and in general, people interested in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.


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