Government to re-table draft law on counterfeits

Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the minister of trade.

What you need to know:

The law is expected to be ready by August.

Kampala- The Anti-Counterfeit Bill will be re-tabled after the government failed to reach a consensus on which institution will take charge of enforcement, the trade minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde has disclosed.

The regulation, also known as Anti-Counterfeiting Bill, has been in Parliament for years as the business community continues face the consequences of the vice.
According to the bill, “Counterfeiting” means without the authority of the owner of a copyright or trademark.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting with the British Business community here earlier in the week, trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said the Anti-Counterfeit Bill will be re-tabled in Parliament before the end of July.
She said: “We had issues with the anti-counterfeit Bill. We failed to reach a consensus on enforcement and so we were forced to withdraw it.”

She continued: “But we have agreed that police will now do the enforcement and not us. By July, we hope that we would have re-tabled and implementation will start a month after that.”

A statement from the ministry indicated that the bill was withdrawn from parliament in 2013. However it has since been redrafted with amendments as recommended by some Members of Parliament and other stakeholders.

Before the bill was withdrawn there was a disagreement on who should take charge of enforcement, According to the trade ministry statement some legislators argued that the ministry did not have enough manpower and capacity to effectively enforce the Act.

“The draft bill is ready and preparations are underway to table it before Cabinet for approval, and later re-table it before parliament,” reads the statement.

Ms Kyambadde’s response was prompted by the calls from the British Business Community in Uganda to expedite the Anti-Counterfeit Bill.

Uganda Breweries Limited corporate relations and legal director Charity Kiyemba observed that the absence of a law on counterfeits has exposed British companies in Uganda to unfair competition, hence a big threat to their investments.

Other issues raised by the British companies operating in Uganda, which they expect government to address, include; delays at Entebbe airport caused by limited manpower, bureaucracies at several levels of clearing goods at the ports, licensing of foreign companies and the high income tax levied on them.

About the law
The proposed law seeks to prohibit trade in counterfeit goods that infringe upon protected intellectual property rights; to require intellectual property rights to cover only copyright and trademarks and to prohibit release of counterfeit goods into the channels of commerce.

It also seeks to create offences relating to trade in counterfeit goods, empower the Commissioner General to seize and detain suspected counterfeit goods, allow inspectors appointed by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to seize and detain suspected counterfeit goods and to provide for incidental (related) matters.


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