Mauritius attracts many entities wanting to set up shop on their tropical island. With this foreign investment, it is important to consider the implications on brand enforcement and on its trading partners, namely South Africa and the rest of Africa.

From a brand enforcement perspective, the equation is a simple one. More entities setting up shop in Mauritius equals growth in manufacturing/distribution which equals more imports/exports.

Unfortunately, the equation has a less desirable leg to it, namely, that the growth in manufacturing or imports will result in a rise of counterfeit goods being imported– and possibly destined for South Africa and Africa.

Counterfeiting in Mauritius is already a problem and has the potential to cause irreparable damage to a brand, or at worst, destroy the brand holder's entire business.

Business owners are aware of the term "Location, location, location..." and Mauritius' location, offers an ideal tropical stop-over from Asia en route to South Africa and various African countries, making it a possible 'haven' for counterfeiters.

How can companies protect their brand in respect of this shipping channel?

The answer is simply by expanding their enforcement net to Mauritius by registering brands (trade marks) with the Mauritian Revenue Authority (MRA) which is quick and inexpensive.

By registering a brand with the MRA, it will enjoy their protection wherein they will be empowered to conduct searches of all imports into Mauritius for counterfeit goods bearing the brand. This registration therefore has a massive advantage for the brand holder as it adds a layer of defence to counterfeit imports from Asia.

In a recent matter, counterfeit goods were imported into Mauritius from Asia, with the plan of exporting them to South Africa at a later stage.

To the credit of the MRA, they caught wind of these counterfeit goods as they were being imported into Mauritius, which meant that the goods never reached South Africa. The goods were stopped in Mauritius and after a few legal steps, the counterfeit goods were destroyed.

In order to register a brand with the MRA, a registered trade mark in Mauritius is required. Once a brand has been registered, the MRA's enforcement tool will ensure businesses continue to benefit in this way.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.