Custom Recordal of IP Rights: An Extra Layer of Brand Protection in Africa

Jackson, Etti & Edu Africa


Trademark protection for brands can be a daunting task, especially when the brand has grown over the years, created numerous intellectual properties, and established a thriving business across multiple continents. Intellectual property infringers are constantly on the lookout for well-known brands to exploit and profit from. They imitate products and brands in order to mislead the public about the origin of the goods or products. This despicable act has led to the erosion of trust and goodwill of brands when consumers encounter fake versions of their goods or products.

Proactive brands who are aware of the length at which intellectual property protection and enforcement can go in protecting their brand have set up internal teams or work with external legal intellectual property teams to monitor and protect their brand. Nowadays, it is commonplace for organizations to register their trademarks, patents, and other forms of intellectual property with international, regional, and national intellectual property registration bodies in order to protect them.

In addition to registration, brand owners can also explore the recordal of their intellectual property rights with the customs authority of countries where their brand is sold. This will enable quick detection and enforcement against infringement of their rights at borders in several jurisdictions. This additional layer of security is critical because counterfeiting is prevalent in Africa. The International Chamber of Commerce has projected that the value in the rise of counterfeits[1] in Africa by 2022 could be as high as $991 billion. The projected rise of counterfeits will affect most economies globally and further increase the menace caused by counterfeits to the society. The good news for most companies is that Custom Recordals will further provide additional protection for their brands.  

We have examined and collated the directory of ten African countries with custom recordal protection and the procedure for application for custom recordal with the relevant authorities in these countries. This guide is to give companies the assurance of additional protection against third parties and infringers.

Custom recordal in Africa: A guide

Custom recordal is the registration of intellectual property rights with a country's customs authorities in order to monitor and detect goods that infringe a brand owner's IP at the port of entry. While some countries have a formal recordal process, in which intellectual property can be registered with customs for monitoring to prevent infringement, other jurisdictions would only allow a request for custom recordal if there is a suspected infringement. This article will examine different countries that have formal registration procedures and those that provide protection when an infringement is suspected.


Formal recordal available


Enabling law:

  1. The Anti-Counterfeit Act, No. 13 Of 2008
  2. The Anti-Counterfeit (Recordation) Regulations, 2021


Relevant Body:

The Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Authority


Protection available for all IPR: in Kenya custom recordal is available for all intellectual property rights. This includes copyright, Patent, copyright, and plant Breeders right.


Compulsory: Custom recordal IPR is compulsory for owners of IPR When importing goods into Kenya.



  1. description of the IPR;
  2. a Power of Attorney in the name and address of the IPR owner and/or authorised importers(signed and notarized)
  3. detailed description/specification of the goods;
  4. certified copy, by the registering authority, of the certificate of registration of the IPR to be recorded;
  5.  telephone number and email address of the IPR owner and/or authorised importers;


  1. photos of the original products bearing the IPR to be recorded;
  2. identity of any parent or subsidiary company or other foreign company which uses the IPR abroad; and
  3.  place of manufacture of the original products bearing the IPR;
  4. name, telephone number and email address of the IPR owner and/authorized importers as well as each foreign person or business entity authorized or licensed to use the IPR (includes distributors)



The Recordal is valid for one year (or the current registration period of the IPR, whichever is shorter), and is renewable for a period of 1 year.





Informal recordal Available


The General Directorate of Customs does not have a formal system for registering IPR. However, where a IPR owner suspects infringement of its goods in Algeria, the owner can request the customs authority to seize the shipment that may contain fake or illegal goods into the country.


If the Directorate finds that there are goods infringing the rights of the applicant, the goods will be suspended for three days, within which the applicant or the applicant's representative must verify the validity of the claim.


Enabling Law

  • The Customs Code
  • The Law No. 79-07 of July 21st, 1979, as amended and supplemented, with the Customs Code (Articles 22, 22a, 22b, 22c);
  • The Law No. 07-12 of December 30th, 2007 Finance Act for 2008 (Articles 41-45).


Relevant Body: General Directorate of Customs (Directorate)



An application to record one’s IP rights is made by submitting the following:

  • Copy of the certificate registration of the trademark.
  •  Description of the genuine product and the counterfeited products
  • Photos of the genuine products and its packaging along with the counterfeited products.
  • Letter of commitment in French signed under the company’s seal or letterhead and duly legalized before the Algerian Consulate.
  • A Power of attorney, legalized up to the Algerian Consulate.
  • Any other relative information is about the counterfeiter, arrival of counterfeited products.
  • The duly authorized importer or licensee or distributor in Algeria


Duration: Custom alerts in Algeria will expire after the trademark expires, therefore it will be necessary to file a copy of the renewal trademark with an original PoA

 ( notarized & legalized) at the level of the Algerian customs to maintain the Alert.




Formal recordal Available


Enabling Law: Moroccan Law No. 23-13, amending and supplementing Law No. 17-97 on the Protection of Industrial Property


Relevant Body: Central Customs Administration of Morocco


Protection available for Trademarks



  1. A certified copy of your trademark registration in Morocco.
  2. An original Power of Attorney in the name of the current applicant as registered with the Moroccan trademark office and signed by one of the qualified representatives/executives of the company duly notarized and legalized up to the Moroccan consulate (a form is attached). The Power of Attorney must be printed on the letterhead of the applicant.
  3. You will note that the validity of the Power of Attorney should be limited to a specific period in order to be acceptable for use in our country as per the new requirements by the customs authorities.
  4.  A certified copy of the extract of the Commercial Registry showing the ability of the said signatory to sign in the name of the company.


  • All these documents should be sworn translated into French or Arabic.



The request is valid for a period of 1 year or for the remaining period of the IP right if it less than 1 year


Renewal: can be further renewed for subsequent years until the termination of such rights in the IPR.




Formal recordal Available


Enabling law: Customs Borders Measures for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights


Relevant Body: Directorate General of Customs in Sudan.


Protection is available for all IPR.



  1. Power of attorney, legalized up to the Sudanese Consulate
  2. List of countries where the product(s) is being manufactured
  3. Certificate of Incorporation /Commercial Register of the applicant company, legalized up to the Sudanese Consulate with sworn Arabic translation
  4. Certified copies of the registration certificate
  5. Copy of the Importation Certificate for each trademark
  6. Certificate of origin of the product(s) – Legalized up to the Sudanese Consulate
  7. Clear A4 sized photos of the authentic products from different sides and photos of the inside of the boxes, and specify, if these capsules, tables, syrups or injections
  8. An electronic presentation of the original products to aid the Customs officials in detecting counterfeit products and differentiating them from the originals
  9. furthermore, the Arabic translation of the POA is a must, and the barcode of the trademark is also required.



One year renewable for subsequent terms after the lapse of the original term.





Formal recordal Available


Enabling Law: Section 66A-E of the Customs Act


Relevant Authority: Mauritian Revenue Authority customs


Protection is available for all IPR: Mark, Collective Mark, Patent, Industrial design, and Copyright



  1. proof of ownership: Any evidence that the applicant is the owner or the authorized user of the patent, industrial design, collective mark, or the copyright.
  2. Certificate of registration of the IPR
  3. A statement of the grounds for the application supported by evidence showing that his rights have been or are likely to be infringed.
  4. Particulars relating to the description of goods making them readily recognizable by the customs, and the place where such goods are to be foun
  5. A minimum bank security amounting to 20,000 Mauritian rupees (500€ )
  6. In the case of Copyrights which are non-registered rights, the right-holders have to

demonstrate credibly that a claim to that right may be made (e.g. affidavit, proof of


  1. Power of attorney (procuration/pouvoir), duly registered in Mauritius under the Registration Duty Act, in case applicant is not the owner of the right
  2. Catalogue/photographs/sample, if any.



An application for suspension has a maximum validity period of two years.




Formal recordal Available


Enabling law: The Counterfeit Goods Act 37/1997 as amended


Relevant Authority: South African Revenue Services (the Customs Authorities)


Protection is available for all IPR



  • Application to the Commissioner for Customs and Excise requesting the Customs Authorities to search and seize all suspected counterfeit goods bearing your brand(s).
  • Power of attorney simply signed.
  • Certified extract of the subject trademark.
  •  indemnity document: to indemnify the Customs Authorities against any liabilities as a result of the search and seizure.



Two years renewable subsequently for another 2 years




Formal recordal of IPR not available.

There are currently no rules in place with respect to registration of the custom recordal in Malawi. However informal registration can be done with the Customs Authority.  


Where the applicant suspects an infringement of his trademark rights, the applicant must notify the commissioner general in writing. The Commissioner General must take all necessary action after receiving the notice to ensure that the imported goods do not violate the registered trademark.


Enabling Law: The Trade Marks Act, 2018 (section 55)


Protection available for trademark



  1. Written notice
  2.  information and particulars of the trademark
  3. The applicant must indemnify the Commissioner General against any liability or expense, whether security has been given or not.
  4. Specification of time and place where infringing articles are to arrive in Malawi
  5. The applicant giving notice must provide security in respect of any liability or expense which the Commissioner General may incur in the process of protecting the trademark. The type of security required is not necessarily a bond, it could take whatever form specified by the Commissioner General. In addition to that, the Commissioner General is required to generally protect the trademark and not necessarily carry out the actions of destruction and demurrage.


  1. Other relevant documents required by the commissioner General



Once the custom recordal is registered, it remains valid until the trademark owner or licensee removes the registration from the Commissioner General’s office.




Formal recordal of IPR not available. Informal recordal available for Trademarks.


Enabling Law: The Executive Regulations of the Import and Export Law 118 (1975)


Protection available for all IPR: rights of the copyright holder and related rights, trademarks, geographic indications, industrial designs, patents, integrated circuit lay-out designs).


Relevant Authority: Custom Authority


There is no formal IPR custom registration available in Egypt.


 However, the Customs has implemented proactive anti-counterfeiting measures that permit IP owners or their representatives to file a complaint with the Customs to suspend the release of any imported goods or products or packages into free circulation which allegedly involving infringement on their intellectual property rights, provided that the goods are entering Egyptian ports or yet to be released from Customs.




  1. a Power of Attorney duly legalized up to the Egyptian Consulate and


  1. a Certified copy of the client’s trademark registration in Egypt are required to be able to represent the client before the Customs Authority.


  1. The complaint letter which contains the following information:


  1. The applicant's name and job, and the name of his representative.
  2. A detailed description of suspected consignment/consignments subject of complaint regarding the exporting country, bill of lading number and date, port of destination, name of importer, and description of goods.
  3. Adequate evidence and documents that there is a prima facie infringement of intellectual property rights.
  4.  A certified deed to assert IPR ownership subject of complaint along with an affidavit indicating the property has not been assigned or subject to a usufructuary right.
  5. An affidavit by the IPR holder verifying that he has not filed a request for a decision on the merits by the competent chief justice to the effect of taking one or more provisional measures or that no decision rejecting the provisional measure regarding the brief has been issued.


  1. The applicant and the customs shall provide Trade Agreements Sector at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry with a copy of the complaint.
  2. a security or a letter of guarantee issued by an Egyptian bank accredited by the Central Bank of Egypt


The seizure will last for only 48 hours during which the customs shall provide the owner or its representative with the consignment information; on amicable basis; to proceed officially with the customs complaint illustrated above.






Formal recordal of IPR not available


Protection available for trademark


Enabling Law: LAW N° 31/2009 OF 26/10/2009 ON THE PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL

PROPERTY, Article 273-279


Although formal recordal of IPR is not available in Rwanda, the Rwanda Intellectual property law allows customs authorities to suspend the release of goods into free circulation where they are suspected of being counterfeit on their own initiative or upon request by an owner/licensee of IP rights/any other interested party.



  1. adequate evidence that the applicant is the owner of the intellectual property right.
  2. evidence that his or her right has been infringed or that an infringement is imminent.
  3. A detailed description of the goods alleged to be infringed, to make them readily recognizable by the customs authority
  4. The customs authorities shall suspend release into free circulation after a security assurance of
  5. Twenty per cent (20%) of the value under customs clearance procedures of the alleged infringing goods has been provided by the applicant.


The suspension of the goods would last twenty (20) working days or thirty (30) calendar days, whichever is greater. Those days begin on the day the owner was notified. Only the court has the authority to grant a period extension.




Formal recordal of IPR available


Protection available for copyright  






The owner of the copyright in a literary or musical work, compilation, audiovisual work, or sound recording, may, if the work has been published, give notice in writing to the Controller of Customs.


(a) that he is the owner of the copyright in the work; and

(b) that he requests the Controller to treat as prohibited goods, during the period specified in the notice, copies of the work which are infringing


C) The applicant may be required to provide evidence of ownership of the copyright.



The period in the notice must be 5 years or the remainder of the duration of the IPR, whichever is less.












Brand owners must be aware that intellectual property rights protection extends beyond the registration of intellectual property rights. Beyond registrations, brand protection necessitates a forward-looking strategy. In order to deter intellectual property infringers from committing infringement acts, brand owners must implement additional layers of protection that make it nearly impossible to encroach on their intellectual property. Customs recordation of intellectual property is one of the most effective means of achieving this goal because it establishes a system for monitoring goods against infringement in territories where they may not be physically present.



DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to be a general guide on the subject matter and does not constitute advice to readers in and of itself. Readers should seek expert advice regarding their specific circumstances.


For further information on Custom Recordal in Africa, kindly contact or



[1] To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than the real thing.


Jackson, Etti & Edu

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Jackson, Etti & Edu

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Tel234-1-462 6841/3, 234-1-280 6989
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