Importers of goods must now enter the intellectual property rights (IPR) details of their goods into a platform that will automatically verify their authenticity before it gets into the country, in a new move aimed at tackling the influx of illicit goods in the country.
Anti-counterfeit Authority (ACA) has launched an Intellectual Property Rights recordation platform that will allow manufacturers to enter data of intellectual property of particular goods detailing its characteristics including high-resolution pictures of the good.
The platform which has been live for several months already has 50 manufacturers who have registered on the platform.
This, according to ACA, will enable law enforcement agencies to compare the goods with those captured in the system and flag off any counterfeit goods before it gets into the country.
According to ACA, 80 percent of illicit goods in the country are imported highlighting the need to control its influx from entry points of the country.
In a Baseline Survey on Counterfeit and Other Forms of Illicit Trade in Kenya, the total size of illicit trade was estimated at Shs826 billion in 2018, having risen from Shs726 billion in 2017 translating to 8.9 percent and 9.3percent of GDP respectively.
John Akoten, the director of research, policy, and quality assurance noted that the platform is a game-changer and will substitute previous measures put in place to seize illicit goods.
“Unlike developed countries, we rely on imports which are at risk, and we are seeking to curb the menace at the source, IPR recordation is a system of recording, and entering data into an online system, the prupose of this database is to enable law enforcement agencies who will note any discrepancies and take action where necessary,” he said.
Besides, the IPR recordation platform will offer an option for consumers to report any suspicion of counterfeiting activities anonymously.
“If you are a consumer and you come across counterfeiting, you can report to the system and we will take action, it’ss anonymous, tell us where its taking place,” Akoten said.
Fridah Kaberia, the Acting Executive Director at the Anti-Counterfeit Authority said: “Recordation is a game-changer in the war against counterfeits. We are seeking to create an Intellectual Property Rights Database that will be used by our officers at border points to easily flag counterfeits before entering the Kenyan market”.