Audio Transcription of Interview on Classic FM on 21 August 2006: Branded Goods
Once again on ClassicFM we are talking about intellectual property with Spoor & Fisher. Mohamed Khader from Spoor & Fisher is in the studio with me. We spoke last week about counterfeit and pirated goods and I said that we would next discuss, if you are a brand owner, what can you do to protect your brand from being ripped off?
I think the first thing that you need to do as a brand owner is to ensure that your rights are protected. In other words, if you have a branded product, register your trade mark. If you have any copyright works that may appear on your products, seek advice and get all the documentation in order. One must be proactive as opposed to being reactive – and plan your strategy accordingly. Once you have all of the protective measures in place, the next step is obviously to educate the public regarding the dangers of counterfeit products – and to let them know where they can buy your authentic product. From a strategic point of view, that is probably the ideal situation to have, and thereafter it is a matter of ensuring that you consult with your attorneys to make sure that you have the mechanisms in place at Customs and at the South African Police Service to ensure that counterfeit goods are detected and seized.
Actually, it sounds like a very complicated process. You’ve got your protection in place, you’ve registered your trade mark, and yes, you’ve taken legal advice, but it is a big country. There are many ways to bring goods into the country...
Of course, there are many ways of getting goods into the country. Anti-counterfeiting cannot be considered to be a luxury or a bonus - it has to be seen as part of your core business. The reality is that you must have a proper team working on anti-counterfeiting. If your counterfeiting problem is out of control, this could affect your brand equity - and any brand owner does not want that to happen.
As you said a couple of weeks ago, the closer we get to 2010, the more problems there will be...
Absolutely. To give you an example, I have a task team in place with investigators who are constantly on the lookout for counterfeit products. That is the kind of service that a brand owner needs to ensure that his product is protected. As I said earlier on, any product that can be sold, can be counterfeited – no matter whether the goods involved are foodstuff or perfume, and obviously including clothing, footwear and headgear.
SPOOR & FISHER