CIPA ups war against counterfeit goods

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The Companies and Intellectual Properties Authority (CIPA) in collaboration with the Botswana Police Service (BPS) undertook six operations between April and August this year, which resulted in the seizure of 3,627 pirated works valued at P290,000.

CIPA’s compliance and enforcement manager, Kesego Modongo revealed this yesterday at the official opening of a two-weeklong workshop aimed at increasing awareness of Intellectual Property (IP) across a diverse group of stakeholders.

The workshop, which was held in collaboration with US Embassy in Botswana, featured IP rights expert from the US, Doris Long as the main speaker who discussed the economic benefits that can be derived from effective management and enforcement of IP rights.

“Creative industries are losing a lot of money due to counterfeit, which is currently an issue in our country hence the reason why as CIPA we have been engaging different stakeholders to address the situation,” Modongo said.

He said that IP infringement can take a number of forms and the perpetrators may do so either with or without knowledge that their acts are illegal.

According to Modongo, in July they facilitated for a raid by BPS at Oriental Plaza Mall where they seized fake goods with brands such as Nike, Timberland, Diesel, Reebok, Guess and Polo.

“This was after we got approached by some international attorneys who represented these brands complaining about some counterfeits that were said to have penetrated the country,” he said.

Further he said since April last year to March this year, CIPA held about nine raids resulting in seizure of 9,606 works to the value of P711,000 in Mogoditshane, Tlokweng, Mochudi, Gaborone in Old Naledi and Broadhurst.

He said that challenges for effective enforcement include the cheap prices, which he said attract consumers to purchase pirated works adding that there are also changes in distribution of pirated works due to the advent of the digital age.

“Most cases are not taken to court, but are resolved through imposition of fines at police stations,” he said.

To address the situation, he said as CIPA they hold monthly-unannounced spot checks on mainstream outlets selling audio and audiovisual recordings for compliance.

He said that they have signed a MoU with Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), which aimed at sensitising the tax collector about the copyright and IP adding that they also sensitise the public through digital media as well as public seminars.

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