International Women’s Day: Celebrating African Women Leaders in Intellectual Property

Angélique Kidjo won her 2nd Grammy Award in 2015. The world renowned Beninoise singer-songwriter is Vice President of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC). CISAC is the umbrella body for copyright societies worldwide.

Angélique Kidjo won her 2nd Grammy Award in 2015. The world renowned Beninoise singer-songwriter is Vice President of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC). CISAC is the umbrella body for copyright societies worldwide.

Celebrated globally on 8th March, this year’s International Women’s Day highlights the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. The official United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”

“When we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all” – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for International Women’s Day 2015.

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day (#IWD2015), this blogger has compiled a list of some of the (influential) women (leaders) in intellectual property (IP) from Kenya and throughout English-speaking Africa. The women listed below (in no particular order) are primarily drawn from IP offices, academia, non-governmental organisations and the IP legal fraternity.

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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.