Report on the Policy Roundtable of the Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC), Nigeria & the International Trademark Association (INTA)
Date: 17th of October, 2017
Venue: Four Points by Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
The theme of the 11th annual ACC/INTA Roundtable was “Fighting Counterfeiting and the Ease of Doing Business”. It brought together brand owners, regulators, enforcement practitioners, IP lawyers, practitioners in the entertainment industry and other key stakeholders to discuss the correlation between fighting counterfeiting and the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
The event started at about 8am with the registration of members, welcome address, opening remarks and key note address.
Mr. Desmond Adeola (Chairman of ACC, Nigeria) welcomed everyone to the event. He started by pointing out that counterfeiting has continued to be a global menace in the society. He also highlighted the efforts the ACC, Nigeria and regulatory stakeholders like SON, CPC, NAFDAC, have made in the fight against counterfeiting.
He further mentioned that this year’s roundtable offers another opportunity for stakeholders to evaluate and discuss how Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti- Piracy play a vital part in the ease of doing business in Nigeria. He closed his welcome address by pointing out that we all must play our part in making Nigeria an enabling environment for talent development, expression, and a very attractive destination for investment.
The Keynote Address was delivered by the Chairman of the event, Mr Marc Schreuder. He was the first Chairman of the Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC) Nigeria. During his tenure, he was also the CEO of Devyani International, the company which brought the KFC franchise to Nigeria, he subsequently moved on from Devyani International and brought in other franchises like Domino’s pizza and Cold Stone. He is currently the General Manager at Natnudo Foods.
He started by explaining the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government and commended the Federal Government for conceiving this idea of ease of doing business in Nigeria and for taking the right steps to communicate and implement it.
He stated that he has reviewed the ERGP and it is evident that there is a strong political determination and commitment at the highest level of the Nigerian Government to ensure the ease of doing business. He also pointed out that many other countries have updated their Intellectual Property (IP) laws; countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and that if Nigeria is to truly achieve the ease of doing business, then the right moral value has to be set, embraced and respected. He therefore, encouraged the attendees to seize the opportunity presented by the roundtable to discuss the issue of IP laws in connection with the role of Anti-counterfeiting and Anti-piracy on the ease of doing business in Nigeria. He further stated that the result of these discussions will help and encourage government to make a conscious decision to set up the framework for the protection of IP in Nigeria and thereby encourage the manufacturing, marketing and sales of goods and services in Nigeria without the negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy.
Setting the Stage
This was carried out by Uche Nwokocha - Partner, Aluko & Oyebode /Secretary ACC/ Chair of Middle East & Africa Sub-Committee on behalf of ACC, Nigeria. She gave a report on the development and growth of ACC and mentioned ACC has evolved from being just a local group. Starting from the first international event ACC, Nigeria attended in London (ACG), the Walk the Talk program (a rally to sensitize people on the dangers of counterfeit products), the Radio & TV Campaign show, the awareness program in high schools on the dangers of fake drugs which was carried out collaboration with United States of America Consulate etc. ACC, Nigeria has and continues to mark the World Anti-Counterfeiting Day.
INTA was represented by Lara Kayode- (Partner, O. Kayode & Co/Chair Global Advisory Council for Africa & Unreal Campaign MEA). She introduced INTA to the attendees by explaining that INTA is a global association of trademark leaders solely established to support trademark and IP in order to protect consumers and promote fair and effective governance. She also informed the attendees that the INTA membership consist of more than 6,500 organizations from 190 countries. The INTA hosts meetings, conferences, roundtables and e-learning programs that bring international trademark professionals together to discuss trademark issues, IP laws and practice. These events are open to members and non-members. It has its headquarters in New York City. It also has offices in Brussels, Shanghai and Washington D.C. as well as a representative office in Geneva.
The Roundtable had three (3) sessions. The first session was the Brand Owners Session with the theme “How does Fight Against Counterfeiting Enhance Ease of Doing Business” was chaired by Desmond Adeola, Chairman ACC & Head of Brand Protection for Africa, Unilever. The second session was the Regulator’s Session with the theme “Doing business 2017: Level Playing Ground” was chaired by Uche Nwokocha Partner, Aluko & Oyebode /Secretary ACC. The third Session was the Entertainment Session with the theme “Counterfeiting & Piracy: Challenges of the Entertainment Industry” was chaired by Dr. Tee Mac Iseli.
Training for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) training was conducted by Bob Peeters (IPM Private Sector - Senior Manager). He gave a background on the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the vital role played by the WCO in stimulating the growth of legitimate international trade as well as its efforts to combat fraudulent activities such as the introduction of the IPM software.
The training was focused on how the NCS can use the IPM software to combat illicit trade. Bob Peeters explained that IPM allows brands operational data to be communicated directly to Customs officers, facilitating the identification of counterfeit goods. IPM is a real-time communication hub between the private sector and Customs officers and it also facilitates identification of counterfeit goods through integration of security solutions.
He also provided more details on how to use the IPM software. Both the NCS and brand owners found the training useful.
The event ended at about 5pm with a vote of thanks by Uche Nwokocha of Aluko & Oyebode/ Secretary ACC. All participants thereafter, proceeded to a cocktail party where Hon. Justice M. B. Idris Judge, Federal High Court, Lagos was presented with an Award of Commitment & Service in recognition of his unwavering commitment in supporting the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
A video CD of the entire event is available at the ACC, Nigeria secretariat (Aluko & Oyebode).