Kenyan Anti-Counterfeit Agency services go digital Digital monitoring to help curb counterfeit activities

After several high-profile corruption cases in the country, the office of the director of public prosecution has made an effort to rake out individuals who commit a criminal offense. In the same nature, the anti-counterfeit agency (ACA) has received financial support worth $1.5 million dollars (KES 150 Million) to support the digitization of their operations and services. In an agreement signed on Monday in the capital Nairobi, the aid from the United Kingdom Department for international development (DFID) will be taken through the channel of Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA)

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The anti-counterfeit agency chairperson Mrs. Flora Mutai observed that technology when in the wrong hands can become dangerous. She further stated that there is a sophisticated and illicit trade crime going on as a result of having technology in the wrong hands. She promised quick action by ‘nabbing them using a quick response system’ which they are putting in place. This is just one of the cautionary measures being exploited.

This move comes at a time when Kenya is facing brutal new discoveries of fake and polluting goods and foods being imported into the country. This a welcome show for concerned Kenyans, to commit to curbing crime and corruption in the country. The anti-counterfeit agency operations will be digitized to deal with increasing challenges from counterfeiters who are using modern technology to copy trademarks and industrial designs that could ultimately halt businesses while putting them in jeopardy.

Mrs. Mutai noted that 3D technology and access to online markets was just but one clicks away. 3D technology is powerful and it can replicate anything. Even the human organs. When it comes to signage and industrial logos, professional criminals do not face challenge copying trademarks and designs to an undetectable level. This makes it easy to copy the creative works of others easily, which affects business and of course, government laws and regulations.

The proposed new digitization project will take place in two parts. The initial stage will involve the development of proper information communications and technology solutions for ease of detection of counterfeit products and services by customers. It will also make it easier to report trademark infringement on intellectual property rights (IPR) owners. It will also involve support for research and awareness programs to establish the national public’s awareness of the level of counterfeiting and implement the Training of Trainers program, on counterfeit issues.

The signing of the new deal was witnessed by the Anti-counterfeit agency chair Mrs. Flora Mutai and TMEA Kenya County program director, Mr. Ahmed Farah, as well as their UK counterpart UKAID Head of sustainable economic development, Ian Mills. The Trademark east Africa country program director praised the move saying, the overall aim of the project is to mitigate and eliminate counterfeit business, to make the country an attractive and conducive place for business to flourish. He went on to affirm that this action is in line with the East African government’s trade facilitation initiative to bring down barriers to trade.

The financial agreement will come as a beneficial deal when there is an increased outcry amongst manufacturers, businesses and the consumers due to the increased trade in counterfeit goods within the country. The negative effects of counterfeiting range from health problems for consumable goods, to business collapse and reduced government revenue. The safety of the public is also at risk when counterfeits easily flow through the markets. As part of the governments plan on the big four agenda, manufacturers were ensured that their intellectual property rights shall be respected. This is because it is a critical success factor for the manufacturing agenda of Kenya.

Once the digitization takes place, it will ensure that the anti-counterfeit officers, the public, manufacturers, other law enforcement agencies and IPR owners have the best instruments at their disposal. The tools made available will be able to deter counterfeiting and modify the detection process in local communities.

Source: Venture Africa

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