TERMS OF REFERENCE
CONSULTANCY: KAM STUDY ON THE EAC REGION IPR AND trademark registration LEGAL FRAMEWORK
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers wished to commence on a study on IPR and trademark registration legal framework within the EAC region. The main objective is to secure an enforceable legal framework within the EAC region which effectively combats the production, importation/exportation and distribution of counterfeit goods and illicit goods in general within the region with a view to curb the various forms of illicit trade in the region.
2.0 Statement of the Problem
IPR and Trademark protection is territorial in nature. As such each EAC Partner State has her own laws related to trademark/ IPR registration and enforcement. Due to this phenomena, illegal businessmen has taken advantage of the disjointed matter in which IPR registration and protection is being done within the region and have made it possible for illicit trade to thrive within the region. Various forms of illicit trade have been live in EAC region and have been unfairly competing with legitimate businesses, eating to their market share.
There is prevalent lack of harmonized approach to IPR and trademark registration within the region and both the consumers and the economy is being marginalized by the illicit trade which is currently on the rise. Such forms of illicit trade that are prevalent include trade in counterfeit goods as well as smuggled goods due to the porous nature of our neighboring borders. Each country is struggling individually to address the menace of illicit trade which has great negative impact to social-economic and political arena. Each partner State is therefore at different implantation stage with Kenya leading in the war against counterfeits and illicit trade due to the existing legal framework and willingness by the government to curb the vise.