It is no secret that the best place to buy designer gear for practically the price of a takeaway meal is in Africa. Believe me, it is a joy to receive a genuine designer product for peanuts because the seller is ridiculously clueless about the real value of the product he is selling. Sweet days!
Why? How? Say you.
There are trunk loads arriving in our parts on the daily, that’s why. ‘Charity goods’ they are, but we pay for them because none of our sellers will actually let us have them for free.
Charitable as the globe is, this presents a unique conundrum. Not enough of the addictive product is available. Result = fake copies which cost more than the cheapie you bought down the market. People, erm… ladies, love new things, and even better when it looks like their favourite designer product which are few and far between up in here. Thus, it only makes sense that you have to pay more for your passed off copy which someone burnt midnight oil, greed and selfishness to replicate like a bulk Picasso.
Does intellectual property apply to products given up by the original owner as a charitable gesture? Certainly, a lot of shops sell these charitable products although they have no affiliation with the original brand.
But that’s not even the contention.
The contention is the lack of prescence of the big brands here who can enforce against infringement of their Intellectual Property in developing countries. Infringement is a free for all party if you can bring your own infringement plan and piracy projections. Walk around the streets of Nairobi and registered businesses with valid business permits are selling fake bags, shoes and accessories. Licenced infringement!
If there is no one to prosecute against those who pass off, then it becomes a trend that many immerse and fully devote themselves to. It is quick cash, ladies are slowly catching on to high fashion thanks to social media and news. This envy is then fed by the fake imports market.
Brand presence would clearly be a hindrance to this market. Nonetheless, do not expect to make money from a society that is used to the alternative. This IP Quail has seen far too many old ladies with authentic monogram designer bags to care very little about shelling top dollar for one abroad.
Despite this, it is time we formed an Intellectual Property police and penalized businesses trading in fake products to fight this passing off menace.