15 October 2004

South Africa: Counterfeiting On the Rise in SA

Johannesburg — SA is sixth in the world in terms of counterfeiting problems, with PC and gaming products the biggest growth areas.

Of the top seven countries with the most counterfeit activity worldwide, SA is sixth with seizures/losses of R8 954 348 in September.

A report issued by US-based DOPIP, an agency that monitors illegal activities such as counterfeiting and forgery, says counterfeiting worldwide increased 378% in September.

As surveyed by Gieschen Consultancy, the US leads the world in counterfeiting activity, followed by India, Nigeria, the UK, Germany and SA.

More than 178 incidents were analysed, and overall results indicated that 595 individuals from 29 countries were involved in counterfeit activity. The counterfeit items seized included over 256 categories, with financial documents (currency and cheques) as the most popular items to counterfeit at 35.9%. Among the most popular hi-tech brands are Adobe and Microsoft.

"We have seen a marked increase in the number of counterfeit PC and gaming products available in SA, mainly originating from the East," says Mark Reynolds, licence and compliance GM for Microsoft SA.

"The most common forms of counterfeit activities taking place in SA include CD cutting locally and hard disk loading."

It is reported that counterfeit methods worldwide include the use of computers (PCs and laptops), computer-generated cheque software, blank cheque paper, digital cameras, DVDs, sophisticated printing equipment and typewriters.

"The South African Federation Against Copyright Theft together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) have taken significant actions against counterfeiters," says Reynolds.

"In the last three months about 225 prosecutors have been trained on the Counterfeit Goods Act and 70 members of the SAPS will receive training shortly.

"The current legislation in SA, while sound, could be tightened up and amendment proposals have been submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry."

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