Intellectual property rights may be private rights but the public sector (namely government) must ensure that a conducive environment exists for their protection. Thus the State endeavours to promote and support the IPR holder. For the IPR holders, it is a form of investment, thus the owners expect a return on their investment. Counterfeiters and pirates reduce or eliminate the returns all together.
The Anti-Counterfeit Agency, created under the Anti-Counterfeit Act of 2008 has the following slogan:
“Enlighten, Enforce, Eliminate”
The “Elighten” clearly speaks to the awareness creation mandate of the ACA and the need to educate Kenyans on issues relating to counterfeits.
The “Enforce” refers to the enforcement of intellectual property rights of owners of marks and copyright. This enforcement is done in conjunction with the Kenya Police and involves carrying out raids and seizures in areas like Kariobangi, River Road, Luthuli Avenue and throughout the Republic.
And finally, the “Eliminate” aspect addresses the fight against counterfeiting and piracy in Kenya.
So, I asked this question a few months ago:
My reasoning was thus:
The fourth “E” namely Engage is dual in nature, namely engaging with both partner agencies and the private sector. The partner agencies are those represented on the ACA Board and include:
1. Kenya Copyright Board (KeCoBo)
2. Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI)
3. The Ministry of Finance
4. The Attorney-General’s Chambers
5. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)
6. The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)
7. The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)
8. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
9. The Pharmacy and Poisons Board;
Not only is ACA supposed to coordinate among these partner agencies, but it must also engage with the private sector namely the industry players who may or may not be represented by KAM. ACA must constantly work towards greater cooperation, collaboration and communication with both these sectors.
According to the Executive Director of the ACA, Stephen Mallowah: “the industry are best placed to lead in this battle; it holds the intellectual property rights concerned and should take the necessary steps to preserve its assets. Industry should unite in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy by developing collaboration and mutual assistance models on the basis of stakeholder agreements, technical expertise and information enabling the Anti-Counterfeit Agency and its stakeholders to intervene. Thus, this public-private partnership is the key to success.”
According to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the public sector loses about Kshs.19 Billion per year while the private sector loses approximately Kshs.50 Billion per year as a result of counterfeiting.