Platinum Distillers (Kenya) Denies “Guarana” Trade Mark Infringement Claim by Diageo North America Inc

MOMENTUM ICE AND SMIRNOFF ICE WITH GUARANA Image by Ghalfa Kenya

Recently, this blogger came across a media report stating that Diageo North America Inc, suing jointly with UDV (Kenya) Ltd, which is its subsidiary in Kenya, has claimed that Platinum Distillers Ltd has begun the manufacture and sale of an alcoholic drink in Kenya known as Momentum Ice with Guarana, which is directly infringing on its trademark, Smirnoff Ice Double Black with Guarana. Both alcoholic beverages are pictured above.

According to this media report, the US company claims that Platinum has caused Momentum Ice to be produced with an overall packaging that constitutes confusingly similar features to its Smirnoff Ice Double Black with Guarana, which is distributed in Kenya by UDV. In particular, the report has reproduced a portion of the suit papers filed by Diageo which reads: “This [packaging] has been done in a manner and style calculated to deceive members of the public that the offending product is associated with us.” As result, Diageo and UDV have reportedly asked the courts to stop Platinum from using its trademark by way of packaging and selling of Momentum Ice with Guarana, in order to prevent further confusion among consumers who think the two products are connected.

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New Study on Patent, Utility Model and Industrial Design Activity in Kenya from 1990 to 2014

The Scinnovent Centre

The good folks over at The Scinnovent Centre have just published a new study titled: “Industrial Property Rights Acquisition in Kenya: Facts, figures and trends”. This March 2015 study was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) with the partnership, support and guidance of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) and National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI). The study used KIPI’s database of all industrial property applications and grants since its inception in 1990 to date (2014) and sought to answer four key questions: (i) Where do the inventions come from? In other words who owns the industrial property protected in Kenya? (ii) How does foreign (international) applicants compare with national (domestic) applications? (iii) In which economic sectors are the most industrial property applications registered? (iv) what are the key challenges/ bottlenecks faced by the applicants?

The data analysed in the study consists of the records of KIPI registry database on the filings, grants and registration of the IP protections for patents (1990 – 2013); utility models (1993 – 2013) and industrial designs (1991 – April 2014). The samples consisted of 2388 patents, 396 utility models and 1392 industrial designs. The study does not include data relating to patent, utility model and industrial design applications filed and granted through African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).

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