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Chinese counterfeits are killing PNG’s embryonic fashion industry

James Marape and Annette Sete
James Marape and Annette Sete

ANNETTE SETE | My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guineans in the creative industries will never win against cheap Chinese copies unless and until the Papua New Guinea government tightens up on some of the laws safeguarding our businesses.

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

This past week my total of Chinese copies reached eight. Six of those we attempted to fight against, but high legal costs meant we can’t afford to do it all.

I read with interest and frustration as Papua New Guineans call for protection of our rights.

The intellectual property office can advise on your rights but ‘yu yet nid lo go fight dis.’ They can register our trademarks, but that’s about it.

The 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.

Legal fees will mean you prioritise 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 look genuine but are extreme capitalists who would do anything to make money including copying you and fighting it in court (because they can afford to).

So here’s my proposal.

Is there a lawyer or law firm out there who wishes 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%!

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

Comments

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Robert Wilson

Good luck with that. Whilst your government continually allow the Chinese to supplant local(PNG) wannabe business men/women in every town in PNG, the market for cheap chinese made rubbish will continue to pour in unabated and as is always the case, the people get dudded! However, PNG are not on their lonesome because we in Australia are also targets for this rubbish!

Paul Oates

During a tour of Italy some years ago, it was noticeable that many small stores selling Italian designs and articles had prominent notices in their front windows declaring 'Nothing in this shop is made in China'.

Perhaps that's all that can be done by local PNG people trying to protect their copyright and patents.

On a larger scale, Australia has virtually been forced to export much of her manufacturing industries as customers simply won't stop buying cheap, quality imports.

At the world level, it starts to become evident that Trump's so called 'Trade War', that seeks some balance in trade between the US and China, is simply denounced as being another example of his erratic behaviour.

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