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MP Basalirwa Granted Leave To Introduce Anti-Counterfeit Bill

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Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament, Asuman Basaliwa has been granted leave of the House to introduce a Private Member’s Bill entitled “The Anti-Counterfeit Bill, 2023.”

Basalirwa sought leave of Parliament after moving a motion under Article 94 (4) (b) of the Constitution, and Rules 56, 121, and 122 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament during a plenary sitting Chaired by Speaker Anita Among on Thursday.

The object of the pro­posed Bill is to pro­hibit trade in coun­ter­feit goods that in­fringe upon pro­tected in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights; to re­quire in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights to cover only copy­right and trade­marks and to pro­hibit re­lease of coun­ter­feit goods for commercial gains.

In justifying his motion, Basalirwa pointed out that the enforcement mechanisms provided under intellectual property laws only provide recourse to court in case of infringement and do not provide administrative remedies that can be accessed through national intellectual property agencies.

This, he explained that has allowed the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods and services that distribute infringing material, undermines legitimate trade, causes significant financial losses for right holders and legitimate businesses, and, in some cases, provide a source of revenue for organized crime.

Additionally, that the lack of effective enforcement mechanisms for intellectual property rights holders has negatively affected the exploitation of intellectual property rights and reversed the gains made by Uganda in the registration, creation, and exploitation of intellectual property rights.

The lack of effective enforcement mechanisms for intellectual property rights has deterred Uganda’s response to new and evolving threats posed by counterfeit products. manufactured within and outside the country.

Soroti City West Division MP, Jonathan Ebwalu, and Derrick Orone of Gogonyo County seconded the motion. But Denis Hamson Obua, the Government Chief expressed reservations stating that the Government had not yet scrutinized the Bill.

Speaker Among put a question to the MPs on the floor who unanimously seconded Basalirwa’s motion. The Speaker directed the Clerk to accord the mover of the motion in processing the Bill.

The Bill was first introduced in 2015 but the Cabinet withdrew it on grounds that there were other laws that address counterfeiting goods. Later in 2016, the Par­lia­men­tary Committee on Trade, Tourism, and In­dus­try in its report had recommended that the Bill be with­drawn, cit­ing sim­i­lar grounds.

The various laws that the Government cited to regulate the registration and exploitation of intellectual property assets include; the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 2006, the Trade Secrets Protection Act, 2009, the Trademarks Act,20l0, the Geographical Indications, Act, 2013, the Industrial Property Act, 2014, and the Plant Variety and Protection Act, 2014.

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