The fight against counterfeiting

April 1st, 2014

Cape Town attorney Vanessa Ferguson, speaking at a round table on the fight against counterfeiting in Cape Town on 13 February, said that because South Africa has the largest economy in Africa, it is the top destination for counterfeit goods, with tax revenue in excess of R 2,5 billion estimated to be lost on counterfeit cigarettes annually. She added that in 2010 counterfeiting was responsible for 14 400 job losses in the textile and clothing industries alone.

Ms Ferguson, who is head of anti-counterfeiting at law firm DM Kisch Inc, and also the convener of the INTA MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South East Asia) anti-counterfeiting subcommittee and SAIIPL anti-counterfeiting committee, said that outcomes from the deliberations were that there was an urgent need for changes to the current Counterfeit Goods Act 37 of 1997 as counterfeiters were becoming more sophisticated.

The International Trademark Association (INTA), the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL), the City of Cape Town and government jointly hosted the round table on the fight against counterfeiting at the Cape Town Civic Centre. Attendees to the event included members of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit, the National Prosecution Authority, the South African Police Service, and the South African Revenue Service, Customs and Excise.

In a press release, Vanessa Ferguson, said that the purpose of the event was, inter alia, to discuss building an effective policy and framework in the fight against counterfeiting, as well as strengthening an already existing relationship that would allow sharing information and working together in order to improve anti-counterfeiting measures in the country.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2014 (April) DR 5.