We have on a number of occasions drawn IP owners’ attention to the fact that if they do business in Kenya they are required to record their IP rights (IPRs) separately with the Kenyan Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) – to be clear, this recordal of IPRs with the ACA is additional to the Kenyan IP registration.

Please refer to our earlier articles in November 2022 and May 2022.

The following points are worth highlighting:

  • The hard deadline for recordal was 1 January 2023, although this deadine has since been extended informally (with no revised deadline yet set).
  • The ACA emphasises that exporting goods to Kenya without first recording the IPR is a criminal offence.
  • Considerable detail is required on recordal, including the country of manufacture of the goods, evidence of IPRs, and digital photos of goods.
  • Although the legislation refers to IPRs, the general consensus seems to be that the requirement is limited to trade mark rights.

The justification given for the dual recordal requirement is this – the ACA is adamant that the secondary recordal of IPRs will prove pivotal in the fight against counterfeiting.

Public Notices

The ACA published a notice stating that the ‘ACA will commence the Recordation of IP rights for imports on 1 January 2023’. The notice reiterates that this is in accordance with Section 34B of the Anti-Counterfeit Act, as read with Legal Notices 117 and 118 of 2021.

The notice tells us a number of things:

The rationale for recordation:

Recordation is described as a ‘ trade facilitation measure aimed at promoting legitimate trade and proactively protecting intellectual property rights by ACA and other government agencies through verification of imports.’ 

The notice goes on to say that ‘importers will benefit from reduced clearance time and losses arising from enforcement intervention at the point of entry.’

As for the ACA, we understand that it has a ‘commitment to innovative steps in the fight against counterfeit trade’ in Kenya.


The notice says that all recorded IPRs will be accorded proactive protection against counterfeit imports under the provisions of the Anti-Counterfeit Act.

A priority system:

The ACA will prioritise the enforcement of the following product categories – alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals, electricals and electronics, clothing, footwear and cosmetics.

In its Public Notice 4/2022**, the ACA stated that in its adopted phased approach, brand owners importing electric and electronic goods are encouraged to register as soon as possible, and in particular, importers who import goods under “chapter 85: Electrical and electronics with HS Codes from 8508 to 8544”.

In Public Notice 1/2023***, a focus was placed on six additional categories, including alcoholic beverages, cosmetics footwear, clothing accessories, clothing and apparel and mechanical and electrical appliances.

Although the ACA singles out these industries, brand owners importing any goods into Kenya (regardless of the industry) are still encouraged to register with the ACA and may register at any time.

The technology:

The ACA will be using Kentrade’s Single Window System, see tfp.kenyatradenet.go.ke for processing IPR declarations for imported goods, and with Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for pre-import inspection of goods.

The recordal process:

IPR owners will apply directly or through ‘preferred IPR agents’. IPR agents and importers are notified to register with the ACA through the ACA public portal. We appreciate that there is some confusion and concern about the IPR requirement. Please contact your usual Spoor & Fisher contact for further information.

*Public Notice No.3/2022 – Implementation of Recordation of Intellectual Property Rights for Imports
**Public Notice No.4/2022 – Implementation of Recordation of Intellectual Property Rights for Imports
***Public Notice No.1/2023 – Expansion Of Regulated HS Codes For Phase II Implementation Of Import Declaration Of IPRS

Contact us for further information.