For the last two days, IPKenya has been attending the inaugural event of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) at Strathmore University. As many may already know, Strathmore Law School is the first law school in the entire Eastern and Central African region to set up a research centre wholly dedicated to intellectual property law. Within Africa, CIPIT is the fourth such institution after similar ones at Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Pretoria, all in South Africa.
In a earlier post titled: “A Challenge for Law Schools in Kenya to Take IP Seriously”, IPKenya highlighted the need for Kenyan universities to emulate their South African counterparts in setting up IP centres in a bid to achieve better support, promotion and protection of intellectual property rights for the people of Kenya.
In this connection, CIPIT’s timing could not have been any better. As Kenya works towards developing a National Intellectual Property Policy, conceptualises a sui-generis protection mechanism for traditional knowledge, struggles to raise IP awareness among its people while grappling with issues of piracy and counterfeiting, CIPIT has a chance to become the legal and scientific point of reference on many of these issues and truly become the hub where the private sector and the public sector can interact so as to positively develop IP laws in Kenya.
For now, only time will tell.