Summary of the Seeds and Plant Varieties Act, Cap 326 Laws of Kenya

This Act came into force in 1975. This law aims to: regulate transactions in seeds, including provision for the testing and certification of seeds; provide guidelines for the establishment of an index of names of plant varieties and to empower the imposition of restriction on the introduction of new varieties and control the importation of seeds; provide for the grant of proprietary rights to persons breeding or discovering new varieties.

The Act also grants plant breeders in plant variety exclusive rights to produce reproductive material of the variety for commercial purposes. Any infringement thereof is actionable and the owner of the right who is entitled damages, injunction, and account for profits. It also is an offence under the Act to make false representation or give false information regarding the exercise of plant breeders’ rights. This attracts either a fine not exceeding 20,000 thousands shillings or imprisonment of up to six months. A body corporate is liable too for any offences committed by or attributable to its officers in this regard.

World IP Day 2011: “Designing the Future.”

Exactly ten years ago, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) created the “World Intellectual Property Day” as an event intended to “raise awareness of the role of intellectual property in our daily lives, and to celebrate the contribution made by innovators and artists to the development of societies across the globe”.

Coincidentally, 2001 is also the magical year Kenya’s existing Copyright Act came into force.

But I digress.

The theme for this year’s World IP day to be held on April 26th 2011 is “Designing the Future” which on the surface seems to appeal more to the other organisation dealing with IPR, namely KIPI since it deals with industrial designs and utility models.

However, WIPO D-G Mr. Gurry’s description of “design” shows us that it shouldn’t be confined to just “industrial design”. He says, in part:

“Design touches every aspect of human creativity. It shapes the things we appreciate from traditional crafts to consumer electronics; from buildings and bicycles to fashion and furniture. Design has been called “intelligence made visible”. Design marries the practical with the pleasing. It brings style to innovation.”

Therefore, KECOBO intends to partner with it’s IP counter-part KIPI as well as other stakeholders in Kenya to hold activities, events and campaigns to raise awareness of intellectual property issues as a whole as well as show how they affect our everyday lives.

In this connection, I believe that KECOBO should also sensitise members of the public on the services it offers, particularly registration of designs as artistic works for the purposes of Act. Registration with KECOBO must be demystified so as not to appear to be an expensive, laborious maze of paperwork and bureaucracy but as a convenient and useful way of protecting one’s unique designs in order to build a bigger and brighter future for themselves and the country as a whole.

Anyways, as World IP Day draws nearer, WIPO has been kind enough to come up with suggested activities to help us mark this important day.

I look forward to seeing what our two intellectual property offices KECOBO and KIPI come up with to celebrate this important occasion.