Johannesburg – Pictures of a takeaway store with branding that looks much like that of the world-famous fried chicken franchise KFC have been doing the rounds on social media in the past few days.
The name of the store is also very similar to that of KFC, it is called KKFC (Kaptain K Fried Chicken) and uses a font very similar to that of the fast food giant.
A post on Facebook purported that the store is located in Daveyton, on Johannesburg’s East Rand, while another suggested franchises would be opened in Diepkloof and Pimville in Soweto.
It has since been established that the picture in question was not taken at Daveyton Mall but was a photograph of the KKFC store in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There is no evidence of a KKFC store opening in South Africa.
According to “The Africa Report”, KKFC opened in the Ethiopian capital in 2018 and offered fried chicken similar to that of KFC and also used KFC’s marketing strategy and slogans. The packaging will have you doing a double take as it is almost indistinguishable from the original.
Ironically, it would seem Kaptain K Fried Chicken is a copy of another copycat. A quick search of the term ‘KKFC’ on Google will lead you to a Nepal-based KKFC, Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken.
The product offering and branding is also similar, so it would seem KKFC Ethiopia is a knock-off of a knock-off.
It brings into focus the issue of intellectual property and how it affects businesses and entrepreneurs.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce.
While this may be somewhat amusing to the general public, it is a serious issue.
“It’s vital for entrepreneurs to safeguard their IP from the conception stage right the way through to bringing their product or services to the market to protect their business’s future profitability and growth potential,” said Nompumelelo Obokoh, general manager of the bioeconomy unit at The Innovation Hub.
This is a sentiment shared by Ethiopian brand strategist Samuel Alemayehu.
“It’s like cheating on an exam to copy the other person’s name as well. When you visit such places you only find that the name, logo, visuals and product titles are similar, but it’s different from the original quality and service,” Samuel Alemayehu, told “The Africa Report”.
Brand piracy is quite common in Ethiopia and many international brands are taking businesses in that country to court for intellectual property infringements.
In South Africa steps are being taken to help SMMEs protect their intellectual property.
After identifying the critical need for greater assistance in securing IP protection for SMMEs, The Innovation Hub and the Innovation Agency of Gauteng, in collaboration with Wipo, have launched an online IP diagnostic tool.
This self-assessment tool offers a user-friendly method for identifying and learning how to manage IP, as well as generate customised reports on a business’s potential IP assets.
The one-stop shop will enable entrepreneurs to be better aware of their IP and educate themselves, giving them the knowledge to help them benefit from their ideas and thus strengthen their businesses.