Trade Mark vs Company Name Registration: Innscor Int. Battles Rwandan Companies, Pizza Inn Ltd and Chicken Inn Ltd

innscor-international-rwanda-trademark-pizza-inn-chicken-limited-image-by-nlipw

In a recent media report here, the Commercial Court of Nyarugenge in Rwanda has ruled that it will not proceed with a case filed by Innscor International accusing two local companies Chicken Inn Limited and Pizza Inn Limited of trademark infringement in Rwanda. The basis of this ruling was reportedly that Innscor had not demonstrated to the court that it had “legal status according to the law governing registered entities in Rwanda”. Technicalities aside, it is clear that once Innscor produces its certificate of incorporation in court, this case would proceed to consider the merits of Innscor’s claim (as illustrated by the picture above), namely that registration of a name as a company name by entity A should not trump any rights in such a name acquired previously by entity B through trade mark law.

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High Court Declares Section 30A of the Copyright Act Unconstitutional and CMO License Agreement Unlawful

safaricom-skiza-tunes-sokodirectory

This blogger has come across a recent judgment in the case of Mercy Munee Kingoo & Anor v. Safaricom Limited & Anor [unreported] Malindi High Court Constitutional Petition No. 5 of 2016 delivered by Mr. Justice S.J Chitembwe on 3rd November 2016. At the heart of this Petition was the claim that section 30A of the Copyright Act is unconstitutional. This Petition raised two important issues for determination: firstly, whether the petition is ‘res judicata’ in light of two earlier decided High Court Petitions (discussed previously here and here) in which section 30A was not found to be unconstitutional and secondly, whether the amendment of the Copyright Act and introduction of section 30A is unconstitutional for failure to observe the principles of public participation.

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High Court Rules New Tobacco Law on Packaging, Labelling and Disclosure Does Not Violate Intellectual Property Rights

British American Tobacco Kenya

Previously, this blogger reported here that the High Court had suspended the coming into force of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 made by the Cabinet Secretary for Health scheduled to take effect on 1st June 2015. Recently in the case of British American Tobacco Kenya Ltd v Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Health & 4 others [2016] eKLR, Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi (known to many readers for her landmark decision on anti-counterfeit law and access to medicines here) delivered a judgment at the High Court dismissing claims by ‘Big Tobacco’ that their constitutional rights including intellectual property (IP) rights are being violated by the new Tobacco Regulations.

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Blind Opposition to Caller Ringtone Deal between Safaricom and Collecting Societies: High Court Case of Irene Mutisya & Anor v. MCSK & Anor

Robert Collymore CEO Safaricom

This blogger has recently come across Nairobi High Court Civil Case No. 262 of 2015 Irene Mutisya & Anor v. Music Copyright Society of Kenya & Anor. In this case Mutisya and another copyright owner Masivo have filed suit against Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) and mobile network operator Safaricom Limited for copyright infringement. The copyright owners filed an urgent application on 30th July 2015 for a temporary injunction to restrain Safaricom from remitting license fees to MCSK pursuant to a recently concluded license agreement for caller ring-back tones (CRBT) made available through Safaricom’s Skiza platform. The copyright owners also asked the court to restrain both Safaricom and MCSK from implementing the CRBT License Agreement pending the hearing of the application.

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Legality of Equitable Remuneration Challenged: High Court Petition of Xpedia & 4 Ors v. Attorney General & 4 Ors

equitable remuneration

Editor’s Note: On 31st July 2015, the urgent application in this Petition No.317 of 2015 dated 29th July 2015 was heard and certain interim orders were granted. A copy of the orders is available here.

This blogger has confirmed a recent media report that two content service providers and three copyright owners have jointly filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of the right to equitable remuneration under the now infamous section 30A of the Copyright Act. The Petition was filed against the Attorney General, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).

As stated above, the crux of the Petition filed by Xpedia Management Limited, Liberty Afrika Technologies Limited, Elijah Mira, Francis Jumba and Carolyne Ndiba is that KAMP, PRiSK and MCSK should be stopped by the court from receiving or collecting royalties under section 30A of the Copyright Act in respect of works owned or claimed by the Petitioners.

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Recap of WIPO African Sub-Regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright

WIPO African Sub regional Workshop New perspectives on copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization in cooperation with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization Harare Zimbabwe July 2015

This week, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) hosted the WIPO African Sub-regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 20 – 21 July 2015.

The Workshop drew Heads of Copyright Offices in the ARIPO Member States and some Observer States who took part in this crucial Workshop aimed at discussing the management of Copyright and Related Rights in the face of new challenges emanating from new digital technologies. Also in attendance were copyright officials from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago who shared their experiences with their African colleagues.

What follows is a summary of the presentations made by the various participants at the Workshop.

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IP Kenya Named among Managing IP Top 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property 2014

ipkenya

“This is the 12th year we have compiled a list of the 50 most influential people in IP worldwide. Over that time, ideas about influence have changed. It’s no longer the case that IP law and policy is determined by self-important officials sitting in the centres of power, and academics preaching to small audiences. Today, everyone from business leaders to consumers has views on IP use and limits; many people make those views heard loudly; and some of them lead to actual change in laws and commercial strategies.” – Managing Intellectual Property™(MIP), July 21st 2014.

This blogger is pleased to learn that the international magazine, Managing Intellectual Property™ has listed the IP Kenya blog, authored by yours truly, among the Top 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property Worldwide. This blogger is extremely proud and honoured to be recognised for his contribution to the ever-changing IP landscape in Kenya and throughout Africa. As the only African in this year’s #MIP50 list, the IP Kenya blog is delighted to be identified among some of the giants on the IP social media scene such as: @patentlyo, @jamie_love, @copyrightgirl, @Ipkat, @ipwatchdog, @DrRimmer and @FOSSpatents.

Here is what MIP had to say about the IP Kenya blog in 2014 Top 50 list:-

mip50 2014

“It often seems hard to find out what’s going on in IP in Africa. Thank heavens, then, for IP Kenya (coordinated by Victor Nzomo). Despite a dearth of case and deal information, the twitter account brings interesting updates on a daily basis, with blog posts every few days, covering topics as diverse as copyright policy, traditional knowledge and famous trade marks as well as linking to articles on interesting disputes. As IP becomes more visible throughout the continent, sites such as this will become more important.”

This fantastic endorsement by MIP is yet another reason for this blogger to keep blogging, sharing and interacting virtually on IP related matters for years to come!

Thank you to all IP Kenya readers, commenters, subscribers, followers and supporters.

Reminder: CIPIT – KIPI Training Course on Patent Drafting and Prosecution, 18th – 21st August 2014

“The strength of a patent depends on a properly prepared patent specification that meets the requirements prescribed in the Industrial Property Act 2001 and the industrial Property Regulations 2002. In addition, there are generally accepted practices that have developed over the many years of patent practice, which serve to guide preparation and prosecution of patent applications.”

There will be a training course, Patent Drafting and Prosecution, to be held on 18th – 21st August 2014 at Strathmore University. For learned friends who attend and complete this course, they will receive 2 CLE points. The course prospectus is available here and the course programme is available here.

For those who attended this course in 2013 (see here), and wish to further refine your patent drafting skills, please note that the 2014 version of the course will focus heavily on patent drafting for ICT-based inventions. The trainers of this year’s training course will also work with repeat attendees to customize your training.

The fee per participant is Ksh 50,000 which is inclusive of course materials, lunches and teas. Participants who register and pay the fee early will enjoy a special rate of Ksh. 45,000.

For more information contact: cipit@strathmore.edu

Kenya Leads Africa in Celebrations of World Intellectual Property Day 2014

Winning team from Riara University at Inaugural IP Moot receive Trophy from The Hon. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.

Winning team from Riara University at Inaugural IP Moot receive Trophy from The Hon. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.

In case you missed it, Kenya’s planned activities for this year’s World Intellectual Property Day went off without a single hitch and exceeded all expectations. This year’s celebrations were the envy of the twitterverse judging from the volume of tweets with the hashtag #worldipdayke (click to view the live-tweets).

The highlight of the day’s event’s was undoubtedly the inaugural IP moot which was won by the impressive all-female team from Riara University. The IP Moot trophy was presented by none other than the Chief Justice and Head of the Judiciary, Dr. Willy Mutunga, SC (see picture above).

Surprisingly, the IP Moot topic was closely related to the World IP Day theme despite being prepared almost 5 months before WIPO announced this year’s theme. The topics are available here. The inaugural Moot attracted a total of eight (8) teams drawn from the various public and private universities throughout Kenya. However the success of the moot was due to an unparalleled cooperation between the government, the legal profession and of course academia, led by Strathmore Law School. At the governmental level, the Executive and Judicial branches of government played an instrumental role in offering practical guidance to the mooters. The Executive was represented by KECOBO and KIPI, whose senior management served as moot court judges. The judiciary’s role in the moot was indispensable and indeed the mooters benefited from the knowledge and experience of Court of Appeal Judge G. Kairu and High Court Judge J. Kamau.

The legal profession also came out in support of the IP moot led by three law firms namely, Coulson Harney, Kaplan & Stratton and Simba & Simba, Advocates. Each firm was represented by their IP-savvy advocates who served as judges in the moot.

The following pictures taken during the various rounds of the moot say it all:-

Mooter (standing) addresses moot court judges including KECOBO Legal Counsel Edward Sigei during preliminary rounds of the Moot.

Mooter (standing) addresses moot court judges including KECOBO Legal Counsel Edward Sigei during preliminary rounds of the Moot.

The Moot Judges in the Final Round: L-R Kairu, JA; Kamau, J; Caroline Muchiri, Simba & Simba Advocates; Sudi Wandabusi, KIPI; John Syekei, Coulson Harney & Dr. Mutai, KIPI.

The Moot Judges in the Final Round: L-R Kairu, JA; Kamau, J; Caroline Muchiri, Simba & Simba Advocates; Sudi Wandabusi, KIPI; John Syekei, Coulson Harney & Dr. Mutai, KIPI.

As the moot rounds were underway, two separate events were taking place namely the “IP Pavillion” (exhibition stands) and a discussion forum on IP and Film. The day ended with a public screening of the award-winning movie “The Prestige” (2006) courtesy of the United States (US) Embassy in Nairobi. Here are some of the pictures from these events:

Liz Lenjo leads the discussions on Intellectual Property Rights in Film.

Liz Lenjo leads the discussions on Intellectual Property Rights in Film.

Peter Hime, an IP Lawyer at the ACA stand.

Peter Hime, an IP Lawyer at the ACA stand.

Discussion Panel on Film Industry in Kenya (L-R): Gerry Gitonga, Entertainment Lawyer; Krushil, Owner of MoMoviez; Gerald Langiri, Founder of Actors.co.ke; June Gachui, Actress, Singer & Lawyer; Timothy Owase, Kenya Film Commission and Mwaniki, Riverwood Ensemble.

Discussion Panel on Film Industry in Kenya (L-R): Gerry Gitonga, Entertainment Lawyer; Krushil, Owner of MoMoviez; Gerald Langiri, Founder of Actors.co.ke; June Gachui, Actress, Singer & Lawyer; Timothy Owase, Kenya Film Commission and Mwaniki, Riverwood Ensemble.

Although it was a Saturday, members of the public came out and interacted on issues affected the film industry and the role of IP in the context of film.

The day was also significant for KIPI Managing Director and Registrar of Trade Marks, Dr. Kibet Mutai who announced that his term was set to expire at the end of April 2014. Many will recall that Dr. Mutai took over from Prof. Otieno-Odek at KIPI in April 2011. Therefore this day was Dr. Mutai was his last public function and he took opportunity to award several awards for the highest number of trade mark applications.

A smiling Dr. Kibet Mutai gives away prizes at the World IP Day 2014. This is his final public event as KIPI Managing Director.

A smiling Dr. Kibet Mutai gives away prizes at the World IP Day 2014. This is his final public event as KIPI Managing Director.

While the IP Moot, IP Pavillion and IP Forum were taking place at Strathmore, there was a separate event taking place in the Nairobi central business district. The Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK) had organised a procession walk from Kenya National Theatre to Nairobi County Hall. The procession finally gathered at Uhuru Park where members of the public got to interact and discuss the day’s theme. As many may know, PRiSK is the collective management organisation that represents the related rights of performers including actors.

poster by PRiSK

The theme of this year’s World IP Day was also the subject of the following WIPO interviews with two personalities in Kenya’s film industry:

Overall, this blogger is very pleased with the amazing team effort displayed by a whole cast of different stakeholders in Kenya’s creative industries, from government to private sector and academia. The result was a magnificent day marking World IP Day in Kenya. A quick online search reveals that only Algeria, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda had any online evidence of planned World IP Day activities, which is worrying given the low levels of IP awareness on the continent. Therefore it is clear that Kenya has set the bar very high for Africa!

This blogger hopes that Kenya will continue being active in its World IP Day outreach activities and events in the years to come.

Strathmore to Host World Intellectual Property Day 2014 Events in Kenya

world ip day 2014 poster

Strathmore University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) has been at the centre of Kenya’s preparations for this year’s World Intellectual Property (WIP) Day celebrations on 26th April 2014. This blogger has previously discussed here the significance of this year’s WIP Day for Kenya. The programme for the day is available here. The celebrations will run from 8.30 a.m to 5.00 p.m and will involve three concurrent events, namely the IP Pavilion, the IP Workshop and the IP Moot Competition. To top it off, there will be a public screening of the award-winning film, “The Prestige”.

The IP Pavilion will be a tented area for exhibitors to carry out public outreach. Attendees of the WIP Day events will have time to visit The Pavilion and meet the various exhibitors.

The IP Workshop will delve into the theme of WIP Day 2014, which is “Movies – A Global Passion.” Speakers will include representatives from the Kenya Copyright Board, Department of Film Services, Kenya Film Commission, Kenya Film Classifications Board, Kenya Film & Television Professionals Association, and experienced Intellectual Property Lawyers in the creative industry.
Venue: Main Auditorium.
Tentative program:
9.45 – 10.45 am: Intellectual Property Rights in Film
10.45 – 11.00 am: Presentation on Copyright and Film Industry
11.30 – 1.00 pm: Discussion Forum on the Dissection of the Film Industry in Kenya

The IP Moot Competition will provide a platform for exposing law students to Intellectual Property Rights, and is the first of its kind anywhere in Kenya. The IP Moot Competition questions and rules are available here.
CIPIT has registered 18 teams from 9 law schools. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya will be closing the event and handing out prizes.
Venue: morning activities to be in assigned classrooms, afternoon activities in Main Auditorium.
Tentative program:
9.45 – 1.00 pm: Initial Round
1.00 – 2.00 pm: Lunch
2.00 – 3.15 pm: Semi-final Round
3.30 – 4.30 pm: Final Round
4.30 – 5.00 pm: Closing and Presentation of Prizes

CIPIT is confident that there will be a good turnout for the WIP Day events, including media coverage, participation by Kenya’s two national IP offices, KIPI and KECOBO, as well as a visit from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

This blogger salutes CIPIT, IP Checkin, Kikao IP and the entire organizing committee and looks forward to a memorable WIP Day 2014.