On 23 February 2022, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority announced that they had concluded the migration process to the Anti-Counterfeit Authority Integrated Management System (“AIMS”), an online platform developed to facilitate the process of the recordal of intellectual property rights, and that the system would be rolled out on a pilot basis from 28 February 2022.
The AIMS system provides for the implementation of the Recordal Regulations, which were published on 23 July 2021 under Legal Notice Number 118 of 2021. The Recordal Regulations give effect to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 18 of 2018, which amended the Anti-Counterfeit Act, 13 of 2018, by inter alia providing for the Recordal of Intellectual Property Rights with the Anti-Counterfeit Authority.
The Anti-Counterfeit Authority have announced that the online recordal process will be rolled out in three (3) separate phases:
Phase 1 (Implemented on 28 February 2022)
Phase 1 will comprise of the actual development of the Intellectual Property Rights database, which will incorporate the implementation of the AIMS platform to enable the lodgement of Recordal Applications by Intellectual Property Rights Holders and/or their agents, including allowing for applications for renewal, change of name and change of Intellectual Property Rights, for both local and foreign owned Intellectual Property Rights.
In terms of Phase 1, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority has also undertaken to process all Recordal Applications within thirty (30) days of receipt and advised that all recorded Intellectual Property Rights will be published in their monthly newsletter.
Phase 2 (Date of implementation to be confirmed)
Phase 2 will incorporate the implementation of the Recordal of Intellectual Property particulars, by way of the standard ACA Form 2B which will require the disclosure of any branded products, for any goods being imported through the Trade Facilitation Platform, which will allow the Anti-Counterfeit Authorities’ inspectors to profile importations and prevent the entry of counterfeit goods at the ports of entry.
Phase 3 (Date of implementation to be confirmed)
Phase 3 will comprise of the incorporation of the Integrated Product Marking and Authentication System (“IPMAS”), in the form of an Anti-Counterfeit security mark. Additional information pertaining to the IPMAS, and security mark will be communicated by the Anti-Counterfeit Authority in due course.
Ms. Fridah Kaberia, the Acting Executive Director of the Anti-Counterfeit Authority, has stated that the purpose of Recordals is to facilitate access to information for enforcement officers on goods to be imported into the country, which will enable both Customs and border officials pro-actively to identify and seize counterfeits at the border before entry into the country.
Whilst the Anti-Counterfeit Authority has proceeded with the launch and implementation of the AIMS system and the Recordal Regulations, there is still a degree of uncertainty insofar as the actual implementation of the process and the compulsory nature of the Recordal itself, is concerned. However, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority has acknowledged that there will be certain implementation challenges that can only be addressed as the AIMS system is implemented and “real-world” tested.