As we celebrate another World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, the need to continue to create more awareness on the dangers caused by counterfeiting cannot be over emphasized.
Over the past decade, African nations experienced economic growth which has led to an increase in the global market across all sectors. While the legitimate market has grown, Counterfeit market has also increased. Nigeria as a big potential market is flooded with counterfeit products while manufacturers are illegally replicating well-known brand names and designs on their packages and labels. These counterfeit goods range from pharmaceuticals, Software, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Hardware and textiles.
Counterfeit goods have a debilitating effect on the economy. They trigger direct economic loss, damages the image of brands above all presents a health hazard for consumers. The major factors that have contributed to the proliferation of counterfeit goods in Nigeria include weak IP enforcement mechanisms and lack of appropriate legal IP legislation.
In fighting counterfeit products, the various regulators have made some remarkable progress. In the past three years, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service(NCS) have impounded over several containers containing suspected counterfeit drugs. The NCS in partnership with other federal agencies such as the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), NAFDAC, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) constantly carries out joint inspection of cargoes at the borders. In 2018, the Anti Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC) a non-government organization whose membership is made up of various brand owners organized training for border official in the NCS and members of SON.
Despite the above measures that have been taken, more reforms must be put in place towards the enablement of more effective IP enforcement and combating counterfeit products. Firstly, there is need to establish an appropriate legal and institutional framework; improvement of border enforcement to curb the influx of pirated goods; collaboration between the regulatory agencies for effective enforcement of IP laws; partnerships with the private sector and the government agencies and increase in public awareness on the harms of counterfeiting.
The opinions in the articles are for general information purposes only and do not form a legal relationship or be taken as legal advice. To explore legal advice, please consult your solicitor or feel free to get in touch with us directly.