Agriculture SME

Annette Sete: Chinese counterfeits killing local fashion industry

Papua New Guineans in the creative industries MSMEs and SMEs will never win against cheap Chinese copies unless and until the government tightens up on some of the laws safe guarding our industries.

Chinese imitations of local designs, fake or counterfeit products will continue to flood our markets.

week my total of Chinese copies reached eight. Six of those we attempted to fight them but high lawyer costs obviously meant we can’t afford to do all.

I read with interest and even frustrations as Papua New Guineans call for protection of our rights. Intellectual property office can advise on your rights but ‘yu yet nid lo go fight dis.’ They can register our trade marks, but that’s about it. Police obviously cannot raid shops without a copy of a lawyer’s  letter (which you have to pay for) and you need to prove you own the designs. (Remember Copyright is automatic).

Lawyers fees will mean you prioritize cases or you drop fighting Chinese shops and move on. If you fight Chinese shops – you struggle to find who actually owns the shop. The Chinese watching over the cash register at the shop is NOT the owner. Almost all of them don’t speak English, and some claimed to not know who their bosses are. (Would love to check their work permits and Visas!)

Then there are those Chinese that looked genuine but are extreme capitalists that would do anything to make money including copying you and fight it in court (because they can afford to).

So here’s my proposal:

Is there a lawyer or law firm out there who wished to take up the challenge of representing me? I’m looking for a litigation lawyer. I can’t pay you upfront but I’d be happy to discuss the cases with you to see if they are worth the fight.
The aim is to win at least a case that we can highlight our copyright infringements and teach these Chinese or any others for that matter that they can’t just continue to copy!

If you win the case; you get your fees paid and we split the settlement 60/40. I’ll take the 40 percent! The aim is to raise awareness and end the current nightmare of Chinese copies in fabrics, shirts etc – with no regard for intellectual property rights! No regard for our people for that matter.

That’s my fight to #takebackpng


Annette Sete, is a Papua New Guinean journalist and fashion designer. 

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