Employment, Non-Competition and Intellectual Property: High Court Case of AMC International v. ABMC International

ABMC 2ND EXECUTIVE HUMAN RESOURCES BOOSTERS SYMPOSIUM 2013 DISPUTE COPYRIGHT TRADEMARK KENYA AMC INTERNATIONAL NAIROBI

This blogger has come across a recent ruling in the case of Africa Management Communication International Limited v Joseph Mathenge Mugo & another [2016] eKLR. In this case, the court declined to find the defendants (which included 2 ex-employees of the plaintiff) in contempt of court orders made preventing them from passing off and carrying themselves as a sister or associate company of the plaintiff (a former employer of the defendants). In addition the plaintiff sought to have the ex-employees committed in prison for three months for violating orders restraining one of the ex-employees from being a director in the 2nd defendant company for a stipulated period of 18 months.

This blogpost examines this case which illustrates the importance of ensuring that employers take proactive steps to secure all their intellectual property (IP) assets against employees no longer in employment and that such former employees are reasonably restrained by contract from trading using the IP assets of the former employer.

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Tax Law and Intellectual Property: “Shell” Trade Mark Licensee Vivo Energy v. Kenya Revenue Authority

vivo energy shell licensee africa - Copy

 

The High Court recently delivered its judgment in the case of Vivo Energy Kenya Limited v Kenya Revenue Authority [2016] eKLR holding that the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes erred for concluding that a non-exclusive and non-transmissible license to use “Shell” trade marks was a sale of a property giving rise to royalty within the meaning of Section 2 of the Income Tax Act and hence chargeable to tax.

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No Making Available Right, No Royalties from Multichoice Signal Distribution

GRH Consulting Diagrammatical View of Broadcasting Copyright Satellite Signal Distribution

This blogpost has been prompted by two recent developments in Kenya and Namibia. In Kenya, the High Court recently delivered a ruling in the case of Music Copyright Society of Kenya Limited & another v Multichoice (K) Limited & another [2016] eKLR in which the court dismissed the copyright infringement suit filed by the collective management organisation MCSK against Multichoice. Meanwhile in Namibia, a recent report here reveals one of the reasons why Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) which receives royalties from Multichoice has failed to distribute them to other concerned African copyright societies.

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MCSK Board Unceremoniously Removes Long-serving CEO

MCSK Maurice Okoth Public Notice Resignation Newspaper Music Copyright Society of Kenya 2016

In the above public notice in today’s newspaper, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) states as follows:

“This is to inform the general public that Mr. Dan Maurice Okoth resigned from his position as the Chief Eexcutive Officer of MCSK. Mr. Okoth ceased to be an employee of MCSK from 24th March 2016. He is therefore, not authorized to transact any business in the name of or on behalf of MCSK and that MCSK shall not take responsibility for any transactions made by him”

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Uganda High Court Rules for Indian Bike Manufacturer Hero MotoCorp in Trade Mark Expungement Suit

hero motocorp bike karizma trademark uganda

In a recently delivered High Court ruling in the case of Hero MotoCorp Limited v. Esteem Motors Limited & 2 Ors Misc. Cause No. 37 of 2014, Lady Justice Flavia Senoga Anglin sitting alone in the Commercial Division directed the Registrar of Trade Marks at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) to cancel and expunge from the Trade Marks Register four trade marks namely “Karizma”, “Hunk”, “Glamour” and “Splendor” registered by the first respondent – Esteem on two grounds namely, prior registration by the Applicant – Hero in India and non-use of the trademarks by Esteem in Uganda.

In its ruling, the Ugandan High Court cited with approval a number of rulings by Kenya’s Registrar of Trade Marks at Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). This blogpost is a brief summary of the facts and reasoning of the court in this case.

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New Draft Kenya Trade Marks Bill and Trade Mark Rules Published for Public Comment

kenya industrial property institute kipi website notice on drafting instructions for the trade marks act and trade mark rules

In March 2015, Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) announced that it had prepared Drafting Instructions to overhaul the Trade Marks Act. These Drafting Instructions, which were published for public comment on KIPI’s website, were to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for the necessary action.

This month, KIPI has published the revised Drafting Instructions repealing the Trade Marks Act along  with Drafting Instructions to repeal the Trade Mark Rules. According to KIPI, both these drafts will be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for drafting. In the meantime, KIPI requests for any public comments on the drafts to be sent to KIPI via email at info@kipi.go.ke on or before 30th April 2016.

Copies of the revised drafting instructions to amend the Trade Marks Act and Trade Mark Rules are here and here respectively.

CopyrightX in Kenya: Learning Experiences and Hard Questions

CopyrightX Music lecture week

As many readers may know, CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course, offered from January to May each year under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  The course explores the current law of copyright mainly in the US but also elsewhere in the world; the impact of that law on art, entertainment, and industry; and the ongoing debates concerning how the law should be reformed. Through a combination of recorded lectures presented by Prof. Fisher, assigned readings, weekly seminars led by yours truly here in Kenya, participants taking the course in Nairobi examine and assess the ways in which the copyright system seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.

Recently, CopyrightX participants in Kenya sat a continuous assessment test (CAT) covering Lectures 1 – 8 of the HLS 2016 Syllabus available here. Part of the CAT was a list of 50 statements which the participants had to determine whether they were true or false. A copy of this part of the CAT is available here. This blogpost is a summary of some observations from the performance of the participants in this part of the CAT.

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