Trademarks bring more to your business than fending off imitators
Posted Sunday, June 17 2012 at 13:38
It was recently reported that fake goods including phones and iPads were seized by the anti-counterfeit agency in Nairobi’s Luthuli Avenue.
The new law on fake goods is quite harsh and imposes a heavy penalty of as much as Sh1 million on persons found with counterfeits.
The infamous CD and DVD writing shops have not been spared either. Those found infringing on the law should expect harsh penalties including jail terms.
Counterfeits are so damaging that in the past they caused businesses to collapse.
Movie theatres are not doing as well as they used to because it is easy to access counterfeit movies for about Sh50. Music shops are also not doing well because it is easy to buy a CD for less than a dollar.
The new law is therefore a win for legitimate businesses.
It is important to trademark your brands as soon as they are created for various reasons.
One, nobody can bring action for infringement, passing off or counterfeit unless they are registered as trademark holders of that particular brand.
The famous Kikoi case brings this fact to point. The kikoi fabric has been manufactured in Kenya for many years.
However, the brand was never registered as a trademark and it was thus easy for a third party to register the mark as their own. The fabric makers have no claim against any third party as they did not register the trademark.
You must register your brands before you can take any action against counterfeiters and other illegal businesses. A trademark is a very important tool for preventing people from riding on your product.
Registering your trademark is important as it enables you to make claims against competitors who want to infringe on your mark. A second reason for registering your mark is to protect your reputation and business from the harmful effects of counterfeits.
A trademark will enable you to clearly distinguish your goods from counterfeits. Some manufacturers have had to come up with aggressive campaigns to safeguard their products’ reputation.
This is because the manufacturers understand how damaging it would be for their business if they do not distinguish the goods from counterfeits.
A business risks exposure to legal action for damages suffered by consumption of counterfeit goods. However, with a trademark, a business is able to clearly distinguish its products from counterfeits.
In Kenya, a number of industries have high exposure to counterfeits and infringing on their products.