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  • Writer's pictureJonathan McKenzie


Updated: May 25, 2020

1. What do we mean by a rogue refill?

2. Are grey products real?

3. What is a counterfeit or ‘fake’?

4. What is piracy?

5. What is contraband?

1. What do we mean by a rogue refill? This is when a counterfeiter fills a container with cheap/harmful products with a view to pass it off as the genuine product. Frequently refilled products include beverages, gas cylinders, pestricides, cosmetics and many more.

2. Are grey products real?

They are legal and genuine; but imported and sold unofficially – this means outside authorized manufacturers channels. Where does it leave consumers and why is this wrong?

Well, in some cases, there could be trademark infringement, undeclared tax and infringing goods are taken away. The products undermine the legitimate brand owners intellectual property, replaces sales of legitimate products, undermines pricing. Also consumers buying through unofficial channels will miss out on important features, offers, accessories, models and warranties that might be localized. The other problem is that criminals will often seek to pass off counterfeit goods as grey market.

Some products are counterfeited or pirated more frequently than others, and definitely counterfeiting and piracy are more common in certain parts of the world than others. Expensive goods such as luxury watches,alcohol and cigarettes, electronics (phones and laptops), chocolates, among others, are the most susceptible to this.

3. What is a counterfeit or a ‘fake’?

Counterfeit products are fake replicas of the real product. People buy fakes for various reasons. The market for counterfeit and pirated products as 2 sub markets: the primary market where consumers have been deceived – they believe they have purchased genuine goods but they have not. The products are often sub-standard and carry health and safety risks that range from mild to life-threatening. The secondary sub-market, contains consumers who actively look for what they believe to be bargains and knowingly buy counterfeit and pirated goods – but they don’t care if these are real.

The Kenya Anti Counterfeit Act 13 of 2008, Subsection 32 (a-g);
“It is an offense for one to have in his possession or control in the course of trade, any counterfeit goods; manufacture, produce or make in the course of trade, any counterfeit goods; sell, hire out, barter or exchange, or offer or expose for; expose or exhibit for the purposes of trade any counterfeit 3 goods; distribute counterfeit goods for purposes of trade or any other purpose; import into, transit through, trans-ship within or export from Kenya, except for private and domestic use of the importer or exporter as the case may be, any counterfeit goods; and in any other manner, dispose of any counterfeit goods in the course of trade”.

4. What is piracy?

Piracy is the act the act of illegally using, copying or distributing copyrighted material that does not belong to you – or which legal rights have not been transferred to you. Examples of copyrighted materials include:

(a) literary works - such as plays, text books, dictionaries, etc.

(b) musical works;

(c) artistic works; paintings, sculptures, etc.

(d) audio-visual works;

(e) sound recordings; and

(f) broadcasts.

(g) computer programs

5. What is contraband?

Contraband collectively refers to fakes, pirated works, rogue refills and grey products, including products which are imported or exported illegally - either in defiance of a total ban or without payment of duty.

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