TV set in your house could be fake, agency warns

Tuesday January 29 2019

Anti-Counterfeit Agency

From left: Anti-Counterfeit Agency Deputy Director Enforcement Johnson Adera, Executive Director Elema Halake, Dolby Laboratories, INC. Senior Director IP Protection and Enforcement Vivian Vassallo and Senior Manager Amy Kim holding a trophy in recognition of the agency's commitment to fight counterfeit products in the local market in Nairobi, on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | KANYIRI | WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PAULINE KAIRU
By PAULINE KAIRU
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That television set in your house, complete with a trademark that you have always prized, could be fake, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), has warned.

ACA’s deputy director enforcement and legal services, Johnson Adera said on Tuesday that the influx of fake TV sets in the market was posing a major challenge.

He cautioned that many TV sets that were being packaged and passed off as highly valued trademarks, were actually assembled using bogus parts. 

“We have seized a container of counterfeit television sets worth Sh28 million at the Inland Container Depot in Embakasi, Nairobi,” he said.

Mr Adera warned Kenyans to be cautious when buying TV sets and other electronic items including speakers and car stereos.  

PROPERTY RIGHTS

He said fakes were being passed off as products by highly regarded brands. Mr Adera, who said most of the TV sets had genuine-looking logos, called upon Kenyans who suspect the integrity of their TV sets to report to the agency.

“We have to be vigilant at all times because counterfeiters are creative,” he said.

Mr Adera was speaking at a ceremony where ACA, the body tasked with detection of counterfeits, was being feted for Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement by Dolby Laboratories in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Dolby is an audio compression technologies developer. The award was in recognition of the work the authority has done in protecting their intellectual property rights.

Dolby is in Kenya to train surveillance officers attached to the ACA and the multiagency team set up to fight counterfeit products on their products and the intellectual property rights of their trademark.

COUNTERFEITS MENACE

Speaking during the event, Vivian Vassallo, Global Director, IP Protection & Enforcement, Dolby Laboratories Inc. said that they were delighted to have a strategic partner in ACA to work with in reducing the counterfeits menace.

“At Dolby, we are excited about the progress the Kenyan Government in setting up institutions and structures to tackle issues of counterfeits and illicit trade, which often discourage foreign companies from investing here due to the unfair trade practices,” said Vassallo.

Anti-Counterfeit Agency CEO Elema Halake said the partnership with intellectual property rights owners was critical in ensuring that ACA officers were up to date with any changes on all products.

The Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) said that it was yet to carry out a baseline survey to establish how much impact counterfeits have had on the economy. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers, however, puts the annual loss of revenue to government at around Sh70billion.

GOODS SEIZED

According to ACA, more than Sh80 billion worth of illicit goods have been seized between June and September 2018.

“As an agency, we acknowledge that companies operating internationally can face an uphill task when enforcing their intellectual property rights and may decide to concentrate on markets where the odds – and profits – are in their favour. I assure Dolby that Kenya has favourable IP laws. Come and invest and trade in this country,” he said.

He said ACA had received funding from Trademark East Africa to carry out a national baseline survey on the impacts of counterfeits this year.  

Dolby’s legal team will also be lodging complaints for those caught counterfeiting their products in the country.