Survey: Intellectual Property Specialisation Among Kenyan Lawyers

In 2013, the Law Society of Kenya upgraded its public Search Engine for Advocates to include a “Advocate Search by Specialisation” field, much to the delight of this blogger. This enhanced search engine will go a long way in enabling members of the public to find legal practitioners that specialise in their areas of need.

Each year, all Advocates are required by law to renew their Practicing Certificate with LSK. During this application process, Advocates fill in a form which requires them to specify their areas of specialisation in practice. This data forms the basis of LSK’s new and improved search engine.

In the case of intellectual property (IP) law practice, the LSK search engine lists a total of 25 lawyers that spend a minimum of 60% of their time on IP matters ( >60%). This blogger has reviewed the LSK search engine list and added internet links to useful information about each of these lawyers.

> 90%

Catherine Bunyasi
Patrick Ikimire
Peter Kamero
Henry Kibet Mutai
Muthoni Mucheru
Nancy Karanu
Paul Nzeveka
James Thuku

> 80%

Wandiri Karimi
David Opijah
Shem Otanga
Jackson Awele
Stella Mwaniki

> 70%

Linda Opati
Judy Njeru
Faith Were

> 60%

Anne Munene
Lilian Omondi
John Kamau
John Mose
Kenneth Kibathi
Rose Nandasaba

Most IP lawyers would concur with this blogger that this list is missing several notable IP advocates, some of whom are members of the LSK Committee on IP and IT. Therefore all IP lawyers must be encouraged to clearly and accurately specify their IP specialisation so as to enable other professionals and members of the public to have access to a more comprehensive list of all IP legal expertise available in Kenya.

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2012 for Intellectual Property in Kenya

IPKenya is back for a second year, hoping to be more informative and relevant than last year and still gunning for that coveted “Kat-approved” badge.

To start things off, here is a small list of IPKenya’s twelve expectations for 2012:-

1. The Geographical Indications Bill will be signed into law.

2. The Copyright Amendment Bill will be adopted.

3. The Music Copyright Society of Kenya will turn over a new leaf, or else!

4. The Traditional Knowledge Bill will be completed and tabled before Parliament.

5. KIPI and KECOBO will launch more online IP products and services including: videos, articles, notices, public search database systems and even online registration?

6. Musicians will form a united Musicians’ Union, which would, inter alia, undertake lobbying and advocacy on copyright and related intellectual property concerns.

7. The Anti-Counterfeit Agency will increase its visibility both through awareness programs and enforcement actions.

8. A few court precedents on industrial property and/or copyright would be nice.

9. The Communications Commission of Kenya and Anti-Counterfeit Agency will carry out the deregistration of counterfeit phones as initially intended.

10. The Creative Commons Kenya team will finally be set up and the porting process will be completed.

11. Prof. Ben Sihanya of Nairobi University, IPKenya’s mentor, will finally publish his long-awaited book on intellectual property law in Kenya.

12. The IP blogosphere + twittersphere in Kenya will begin to take shape.

——————–

An ambitious list, one could say, considering that 2012 is election year in Kenya, not to mention the backlog of constitutionally mandated acts of parliament still to be debated and passed.

That said, IPKenya remains optimistic that all the expectations (even those requiring government facilitation) in the list can be met by the end of the year.

As early as April 26, 2012, when Kenya joins the global village to mark World IP Day, IPKenya shall return to this list to see what items can already be ticked off.

And so, let the year begin!

Amnesty Campaign Launched to Fight Software Piracy in Kenya

Starting today for the next 30 days, the Kenya Copyright Board (KeCoBo), with the support of Microsoft East and Southern Africa have instituted an “amnesty” period whereby end-users running counterfeit software can “come clean” by discontinuing illegal use and acquiring genuine versions without penalty. The 30-day amnesty is a response to the growing threat of software piracy to Kenya’s economy – a crime which resulted in an estimated loss of 85 million dollars for the country last year. Microsoft, the world’s leading software company, is fully committed to this initiative and is offering discounts on genuine versions of some of its most popular software eg. Microsoft Office, Windows 7 Pro.

At the end of the amnesty period, Microsoft Anti-Piracy personnel will be back on the streets rooting out offenders and reporting them to KECOBO, which will enforce the necessary legal action prescribed by law.
It is hoped that the users who have pirated software will take advantage of the amnesty period to ensure that they purchase and install the genuine versions of Microsoft software.

Microsoft East and Southern Africa via it’s twitter page “@MicrosoftEA” is using the hashtag “#AntiPiracyKE” to spread information about the 30 day Amnesty Campaign and here are some important tid-bits you should know:

– Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline: +254 286 8299 – where any suspected counterfeit software can be reported & authenticated. Or use this email address: reportpiracy@microsoft.com

– Microsoft ‘Clean Dealer’ Program is for trusted & verified resellers who have entered into an agreement to sell only genuine software. What to know more? Visit the Microsoft page here.

– Microsoft recommends visiting its anti-counterfeiting site, http://www.howtotell.com, for tips and tricks for how to spot and avoid illegal software.

Comments:

The choice to have Microsoft East and Southern Africa’s regional headquarters in Kenya was strategic. Kenya has a business-friendly climate and has a rapidly expanding ICT sector powered by both private and public sectors. However, Microsoft continues to incur huge losses running into millions of dollars due to piracy of its software and counterfeiting of its trademarks. To address these challenges, Microsoft continues to work closely with the two government IP enforcement bodies in Kenya: KECOBO and ACA. Prior to this “Come Clean” Campaign, KECOBO and Microsoft ran an operation a few years back targetting cyber-cafes (internet cafes) getting them to regularise their software licenses.

With this new Amnesty Campaign, the focus is primarily on creating awareness about the prevalence of software piracy in Kenya. The “Clean Dealer Program” launched by Microsoft seeks to provide all users with a list of authorised dealers and re-sellers of Microsoft software countrywide. These “clean dealers” will facilitate the exchange of counterfeit software for genuine Microsoft software and educate users on the overwhelming number of “high quality” counterfeit software in the market.
According to the latest Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010-2011 Report, the level of software piracy in Kenya has dropped since 2007 from 83% to 79%. However with the global average piracy levels at 42%, there is a lot that needs to be done both in awareness and enforcement through existing as well as new public-private partnerships.

Establishment of a National Intellectual Property Academy in Kenya

IPKenya has learned, from a reliable source, that the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has agreed to support the Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPI) in establishing a National Intellectual Property Academy in Kenya.

The proposed academy will collaborate with other institutions of higher learning to train in matters of intellectual property at different levels.

A team of experts on a fact-finding mission from WIPO visted Kenya a few weeks back and held discussions with relevant stakeholders from IP Offices and other institutions of higher learning that already have, or intend to have, intellectual property courses in their academic curricula.

I understand several meetings have since taken place and there is a workplan and roadmap in place. For the time being, remember that KIPI signed a partnership with Inoorero University to offer IP courses as well as a specialised diploma in Intellectual Property.

More details to follow soon.

IP Crammer 2011: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Intellectual Property in Kenya

Afro Leo a.k.a the Lion that tweets has let the cat out of the bag about this year’s IP Crammer which I assume will be similar to a previous one he attended.

Anyways, his roar to African IP observers and commentators in regard to the IP Crammer was loud and clear:

“What are the top IP stories on the continent this year?”

Well, speaking specifically of Kenya’s IP space, it’s been a mixed bag of good and bad news.

Continue reading

WIPO IP Facts and Figures 2011: Kenya Country Profile

According to the WIPO IP Facts and Figures 2011 Report, trademarks applications are highest both worldwide and also in Africa. The 2010 figures indicate that ARIPO recieved 2,782 trademark applications, 448 for patents and 209 for industrial designs.

Kenya’s Industrial Property Office recieved 1430 trademark applications.

In the same period, Kenya made a grand total of 13 international applications: 4 under the PCT system and 9 under the Madrid system.

A full graphical summary of Kenya’s national and international industrial property applications is listed below:

International Applications via WIPO Administered Treaties

Patent Applications (KIPI and PCT National Phase Entry)

Patent Applications by Top Fields of Technology

Patent Grants (KIPI and PCT National Phase Entry)

Utility Model Applications (to KIPI)

Trademark Applications (to KIPI)

Trademark Applications (to ARIPO)

Industrial Design Applications (to KIPI)

African Intellectual Property Ranking in 2011 International Property Rights Index

The Property Rights Alliance has just released its 2011 report of International Property Rights Index (IPRI), which measures the intellectual and physical property rights of 129 nations from around the world.

Out of the 26 African countries, South Africa is ranked highest and is position 21 globally. Kenya is ranked 93. The lowest ranked african country is Libya at position 126 out of 129.

Here’s a glance at the IPR Score breakdown for South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

South Africa:

Kenya:

Nigeria: