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Anti counterfeit agency due by June

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30- A new anti Counterfeit Agency proposed under the recently passed Anti Counterfeit Act 2008 should operational by June, the government said on Monday.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industrialization, Professor John Lonyangapuo said the government had set aside Sh300 million in the next financial year, to fund the agency’s operations.

“It’s not easy to start up a set up like that but we are getting there and in the next one or two months you will see things happening,” the PS said, adding that more than 1000 experts had been registered as resource persons for the agency.

He said a task force headed by Professor James Odek, the Managing Director of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), had been given until end of April to formulate policies and rules for the agency.

The Anti Counterfeit Agency’s mandate will among other things include combating trade in counterfeit goods in the country.

Meanwhile only 10 patents have been registered in the country in the last 8 years. This is despite the enactment of four laws within the period to govern property rights. These include the Anti Counterfeits Bill 2008, Industrial Properties Act of 2001, Copyrights Act of 2001 and Seed and Plants Variety Act of 2001.

Speaking at a forum on Patents and Industrial Property, the KIPI boss, Prof Odek said it was unfortunate that none of the local public universities had registered a patent so far.

“Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has several trademarks registered at KIPI. Moi and Nairobi Universities have patent applications which are still being processed,” he said.

Prof Odek noted that universities were yet to translate their research, innovation and development projects to tangible benefits, especially for the small and medium enterprises in the country.

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“Lack of patents by our universities is a very serious thing .We have taken up the challenge to the universities and we want to see them having patents,” he said.

“That message has been sent to them loud and clear, that they need to change their ways, they need to research to invent.”

Prof Odek observed that the low number of registered patents and trademarks in the country so far have led to the country losing some of its innovative products to other countries.
Among Kenyan innovations like the traditional Ciondo (weaved basket) was lost to Japan which patented.

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