The authors
  • Marius Schneider heads IPvocate Africa, a boutique law firm specialized in protecting, managing and enforcing IP rights in Africa. Vanessa Ferguson is the founder of Ferguson Attorneys and a South African qualified trade mark practitioner, specializing in IP protection and enforcement throughout Africa. Nora Ho Tu Nam is a lawyer at IPvocate Africa. She holds a doctorate in law from the University of Pretoria.

This article
  • With unprecedented economic growth and the emergence of a previously untapped upper and middle class, Africa has caught the attention of numerous rights holders. Many—including infringers—want to enter this promising market.

  • Based on the practical experience of the authors and buttressed by official sources and statistics, this article sets out the factors which enable counterfeiting and piracy in Africa. Going beyond the usual argument of corruption of the enforcement authorities, the article also discusses free trade zones, landlocked countries and trade links between Africa and China amongst others. While the situation may seem particularly daunting, numerous improvements are taking place on the ground. The article explains the various initiatives taken by African states to protect IP rights and the growing awareness of the value of IP rights on the continent.

  • The aim behind this article is to provide rights holders, their legal advisers and anyone involved in the enforcement of IP rights in Africa with a thorough understanding of IP enforcement in Africa and of the possible solutions. Hence, the article ends with practical advice to rights holders and highlights solutions for the benefit of their brand and consumers.

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