Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia. Customs Watch notices are also available in Ivory Coast, but they are not always effective.
Anti-Counterfeiting in Africa
Effective, unified and end-to-end anti-counterfeiting services
Counterfeit goods are imitations of goods that, in their manufacture or production, commit an act of copyright or trade mark infringement, or both.
Throughout the world, intellectual property rights holders such as sportswear brands, luxury goods companies, pharmaceutical companies, FMCG manufacturers and others face the growing issue of trade mark and copyright counterfeiting – which itself shows an increasing level of sophistication.
To help our clients to overcome this challenge, Spoor & Fisher has built one of Africa’s most extensive Anti-Counterfeiting teams, with comprehensive expertise in the legal and practical aspects of anti-counterfeiting enforcement.
We believe that effective anti-counterfeiting lies in superior expertise, not merely in making a complaint. For this reason, we offer a one-stop shop: from the start of an investigation to the conclusion of a civil or criminal case.
Our Anti-Counterfeiting team works closely with a network of skilled agents, specialist investigating firms, and law enforcement agencies across Africa to offer border control strategies, investigations, marketplace enforcement, and prosecution. We assist in locating perpetrators, conducting surveillance exercises, and identifying and shutting down counterfeiting activities.
Spoor & Fisher is proud to have played a prominent role in the development of anti-counterfeiting practice and procedures in South Africa, including the drafting of the Counterfeit Goods Act of 1997.
In addition, we maintain close relationships with, and carry out ongoing training initiatives for, customs officials, police and anti-counterfeiting agencies across Africa.
What countries are considered to be the counterfeiting ‘hotspots’ in Africa where brand owners should protect their trade marks as priority?
Counterfeiting hotspots include South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania amongst others. The starting point will be to identify the key markets in Africa for your goods or services. It is also worth considering those countries that have large or fast-growing consumer markets and therefore the largest consumer markets. However, given the economic growth across the continent, it is difficult to exclude any country. Brand owners should note that to take effective enforcement action, trade marks should be registered.
Which countries in Africa allow for effective enforcement action for registered trade marks?
Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Zambia.
Where are Customs Watch notices or surveillance requests currently possible and recommended?
Which intellectual property rights may be enforced to prevent counterfeiting?
- The rights in respect of a trade mark conferred by the applicable trade mark legislation, including well-known marks
- The copyright in any work in terms of the applicable copyright legislation
- The use of a particular mark in relation to goods, under legislation pertaining specifically to merchandise marks
Which intellectual property rights are not enforceable to prevent counterfeiting?
Patent and design rights, including common law rights like passing off and unlawful competition, are not generally enforceable against counterfeiting.