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Enforcement of IPRs in Congo


Enforcement of IPRs
The administrative measures are comparatively on the weaker side, which is why the counterfeit goods are not successfully identified and removed from the local markets. Around 2017, it had also been complained that the government of DRC itself was using unlicensed software, which shows the lack of attentiveness concerning the problems of counterfeiting or unauthorized use of goods.
Medical supplies and food products most often face counterfeiting and piracy in DRC.
They are as follows:
  • Trademarks - The Industrial Property Law no 82-001 of 1982 and the Industrial Property Regulations, 1989
  • Patents - The Industrial Property Law no 82-001 of 1982 and the Industrial Property Regulations, 1989
  • Designs - The Industrial Property Law no 82-001 of 1982 and the Industrial Property Regulations, 1989
  • Copyright – The Ordinance Law no 86-033 of 1986 on the Protection of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights
Trademarks, Patents, Copyright, and Designs are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in DRC.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - No
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
Other civil remedies include publication of the court’s decision.
A) Responsible Authority - Criminal court
B) Imprisonment Term - Maximum of 05 years to 10 years
C) Monetary Fine - 05 million JPY to 10 million JPY. Another way of calculating the sanction takes into account the minimum monthly legal salary of the alleged infringer.
Other criminal remedies include the publication of the decision, the destruction of the infringing goods, and the withdrawal of the infringing goods from the commercial market or obligatory labor.
Although fines are pecuniary in nature, other remedies like imprisonment might be more stringent than the act committed, which may not always seem proportional.
ADR measures are not often pursued due to a lack of proper framework; however, they may be resorted by the parties if the same are contractually preferred.
Under Article 77, counterfeiting on Congolese territory of works published in the Congo or abroad is punishable by a fine of between CFAF 100,000 and CFAF 250,000. The same penalty applies in the event of exportation or importation of counterfeit works.
Court Proceedings
The legal framework is not strong enough to facilitate proper enforcement of intellectual property rights. Also, the lack of customs measures is an added disadvantage. There is no formal system for the country/economy to track and report on seizures of counterfeit goods, which makes it even more difficult to know the rate of success or failure of how the administration is working.