The passing of Trademarks Bill should give to authorities in Malawi to ban fake versions of classic design icons such Gucci and Louis Vuitton being sold in the country unless retailers can gain rights from the original copyright holder.
Parliament passed Trademarks Bill to protect Intellectual Property Rights.
Malawi has seen flourishing trade in knock-off products that encompasses everything from electronics, cosmetics and accessories to pharmaceuticals, textiles and alcohol .
“We have seen an emerging problem where trademarks are not respected because of the rising counterfeits which have negative effect on the development of our country,” Mwenifumbo told Parliament.
“We have seen a lot of inflows of fake goods into our country, counterfeits but enjoying a price of first generation goods,” he added.
Gucci handbags and women clothes in Burberry and Louis Vuitton including men Adidas shoes, are the most common counterfeit products sold in Malawi.
But citizens say, the main problem is the mindset of the consumer: “People here don’t see the fake goods trade as a crime.”
With the passing of the Trademarks Bill, laws concerning trademark infringement have bee tightened considerably.
Therefore, MP Mwenifumbo said it is high time Malawi stopped accepting the importation of fake goods because they are having a knock-on effect.
“People are paying prices for the original goods and yet they get second generation goods,” said the lawmaker.
He was upbeat that the passing of the bill would empower the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to check the inflow of fake products in the country.
“Goods which are supposed to last for 12 months are lasting for two months. I, therefore, want to believe that at the passing of this Trademarks Bill the Malawi Bureau of Standards will be empowered. It will be institutionalised, given the necessary institutional capacity to check the inflow of fake goods in Malawi,” said Mwenifumbo.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said said an effective and well administered trademark regime is essential for Malawi to maximise the economic benefits that flow from the effective protection of trademarks.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :