54gene has raised the alarm over the unauthorised use and infringement of its Intellectual Property (IP) rights.
According to the company, throughout the COVID-19 period, most of the results of private testing laboratories across Nigeria were subject to counterfeiting and forgery by a handful of dishonest individuals to provide fake results to persons who have not been tested.
It described counterfeiting and forgery as a criminal offence, which involves the illegal and unauthorised use of company’s trade name, trademarks and brand image, adding that such act amounts to Intellectual Property (IP) infringement.
Compliance and Data Protection Officer at 54gene, Alma Karibo, said: “54gene takes such acts of IP infringement involving the counterfeiting and forgery of our results and any other illegal conduct extremely seriously. Such acts, while being wholly unfair and illegal, threaten the integrity process of the entire diagnostics sector – and certainly in this current climate, it is also unsafe, as we are working hard to reduce the spread of COVID-19,”
According to Karibo, “In the same vein, we take seriously publications/communications that abuse our IP rights or defames our brand name. While we recognize the need for journalists to communicate valid, verifiable and up to date information, note that our brand name and IP rights are very important to us.
“Publications on the issues surrounding fake results must not carry the 54gene name in its heading or in its body in any way that may be misinterpreted or found to be misleading or defamatory in any form; and any reference to 54gene must be in line with current position and as advised by our communications team. Note that violation of our policy on publications will incur legal action including recovery for damages.”
It added: “As an immediate step in this fight against counterfeit test results, we have built a validation portal to counter the circulation of fake test results, and to safeguard the public, who ultimately lose out in this situation.
“Going forward, we will be taking legal action against any individuals or businesses who we find to be infringing on 54gene’s intellectual property in any format, or indeed using our name for any commercial gain.
“It is important for us to take a stand against Intellectual Property infringement, as we work hard with our peers to ensure globally recognised rigour when it comes to maintaining international compliance standards and protecting Intellectual Property Rights,” Karibo further said.