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Conference raises awareness on dangers of counterfeits

Dr Robi Mbugua Njoroge

Kenya hosted a successful anti-counterfeit conference bringing together 575 delegates and speakers from 22 countries globally.

There were speakers, delegates and representatives of manufacturers from among others USA, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, Switzerland, UAE, and Tanzania.

The resounding success of the second International Symposium on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement (ISIPPE 2) has marked a significant milestone in the fight against counterfeiting and the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights.

One of the standout achievements of ISIPPE 2 was the active participation of five key international partners, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

There were several national-specific agencies like the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) of South Africa, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Japan Property Office (JPO), and the Fair Competition Commission of Tanzania.

Their support and expertise were instrumental in shaping the dialogue and setting the stage for future cooperation. The presence of such esteemed partners underscores the global recognition of the need to combat counterfeiting and protect IP rights.

This event, held in Nairobi, brought together policymakers, government agencies, industry leaders, and international partners to forge a united front against the global menace of counterfeiting.

The theme of ISIPPE 2, “Uniting against counterfeiting for a healthy and safe future,” could not have been more apt. The symposium served as a platform for robust discussions, knowledge sharing, and strategic planning aimed at reinforcing our collective resolve to safeguard IP rights. The Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), as the host, is immensely proud of the collaborative spirit and the wealth of insights generated during this pivotal event.

We were honoured to have a diverse group of speakers and participants who brought a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences to the summit. The engagement of stakeholders from various sectors, including academia, industry, and government, ensured a comprehensive exploration of the challenges and opportunities in IP protection.

Raising awareness about the dangers of counterfeit products and the importance of IP protection was another critical focus of ISIPPE 2. “Public education campaigns and community outreach are vital in fostering a culture of respect for IP rights. By empowering consumers with knowledge, we can reduce the demand for counterfeit goods and support legitimate businesses that drive innovation and economic growth, “ said Prof Alhabash Saleem, the lead researcher for the 2023 Global Anti-Counterfeiting Consumer Survey .

Hosting of ISIPPE 2 happened as the country plans to unveil the proposed National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy (NIPPS) for Kenya. The strategy is aimed at laying the groundwork for our national IP policy and strategy for the period 2023-2027. This WIPO-sponsored project, driven by stakeholders, promises to be a game-changer in harmonizing and strengthening our IP framework.

Contributions from government agencies, academic institutions, industry leaders, and legal experts will be pivotal in charting the course for Kenya’s IP future.

Moreover, the event provided an opportunity to honor and recognize the tireless efforts of IP rights holders, enforcement agencies, and journalists who have been at the forefront of the battle against counterfeiting.

Their dedication and hard work are the bedrock upon which we build our strategies and initiatives. The award scheme conceptualized during the summit to honor these champions of IP rights is a testament to our commitment to celebrating and supporting those who stand firm against counterfeiting.

As we reflect on the achievements of ISIPPE 2, it is clear that we have made significant strides in reinforcing the importance of IP protection. The collaborative efforts and the strong partnerships forged during the summit have laid a solid foundation for future initiatives.

The ACA is committed to continuing this momentum, working closely with our partners to implement the strategies and recommendations that emerged from the summit.

In conclusion, the success of ISIPPE 2 is a testament to the power of collaboration and the shared vision of a world free from the scourge of counterfeiting.

As we move forward, the lessons and connections from ISIPPE 2 will guide our efforts in creating a counterfeit-free future. The Anti-Counterfeit Authority remains dedicated to enhancing our enforcement mechanisms, leveraging technology, and building strong partnerships to protect IP rights.

Dr. Robi Mbugua Njoroge is the Executive Director, Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA)