The New Face of Creative Commons in Kenya

Elizabeth Oyange By Rori! Comics for UnCommon Women, CC BY

The inaugural meeting of the Creative Commons (CC) Kenya Chapter was held on 25 July 2018. This meeting marked the transition of the CC community in Kenya into a CC Country Chapter. A key agenda item was the election of several officials to manage the affairs of the CC Kenya Chapter. As readers of this blog may know, the Creative Commons community in Kenya was previously organised using an ‘Affiliate’ model with two Leads, a Public Lead (based at CIPIT – Strathmore University) and a Legal Lead (based Kenya Law i.e. National Council for Law Reporting).

Under the new structure, the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) co-ordinates and provides leadership in the global CC movement. The Global Network Council (GNC) is the governing and decision-making body of the CCGN. It consists of elected representatives of all CC Country Chapters and representatives from CC HQ. CC Chapters serve as the central coordinators of the work of the individuals and institutions participating within a country in support of the CCGN. As such, all those interested in becoming members of CC must register here either as Network Members or Network Partners (for Institutions) and belong to a Country Chapter.

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Behold, The Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Executive Forum and Technical Working Group

Kenya Gazette July 2018 Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Executive Forum and Technical Working Group Ministry Industry Trade

The recently formed Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade clique sounds like it could have been a WhatsApp group. In last Friday’s Kenya Gazette, the Minister at the time announced the establishment and appointment of both an Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Executive Forum (23 members in total) and an Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Technical Working Group (24 members in total). The Executive Forum and Technical Working Group are apparently expected to deliver on the President’s Big 4 Agenda pillar of enhancing manufacturing so that the sector contributes 15% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 9.2% in 2016.

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Ten Years Later: Dismal Performance Scorecard for Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Agency

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In 2008, Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) was birthed as Kenya’s TRIPS-plus experiment to spearhead intellectual property (IP) rights enforcement by coordinating efforts among various state agencies. In our humble opinion, ACA deserves no score higher than 3/10 for its performance in fulfilling its overall statutory mandate in Kenya.

It was envisioned that ACA would be a shining example of an inter-agency approach to IP rights enforcement with private sector coordination. Ten years later, it is safe to say that ACA has failed to live up to its potential. The reason? Two words: Institutional Corruption.

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Some World Intellectual Property Day 2015 Posters from Africa

Map of World Intellectual Property Day 2015 Events

As the world prepares to mark World Intellectual Property (IP) Day this Sunday April 26th 2015, this blogger has come across several World IP Day posters from around the continent created to reflect this year’s theme: “Get Up. Stand Up. For Music”. According to the map of World Intellectual Property Day 2015 Events by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there are only sixteen (16) confirmed World IP events being held in ten (10) countries across the continent. This blogger reckons that this represents a low turn-out by IP stakeholders across Africa’s fifty four (54) states given this year’s World IP Day theme and the importance of World IP Day activities and events for awareness creation and public sensitisation.

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Reminder: Kenya Industrial Property Institute Open Day – 28 Feb 2014

Kenya’s Patent and Trademark Office – KIPI – will hold its Open Day at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on February 28, 2014 from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

The purpose of the Open Day is to increase public awareness on intellectual property through educating members of the publc on the importance of registration and protection of their patents, trade marks, industrial designs and utility models.

As many may know, KIPI is a state corporation mandated by law to:
1) Consider applications for and grant industrial property rights i.e. patents, trade marks, industrial designs and utility models
2) Screen tech transfer agreements and licenses
3) Provide to the public industrial property information for tech and economic development; and
4) Promote inventiveness and innovativeness in Kenya.

KIPI has organised this Open Day in partnership with other stakeholders and collaborators in the field of intellectual property who will also be exhibitors during the event. This will definitely provide a great opportunity for KIPI and other players in the IP arena to meet and interact with innovators and entrepreneurs as well as the public at large

IPKenya encourages all those interested in this event to save the date and in case of any queries, contact KIPI’s Corporate Affairs Office on 0720732707 or 0720578915.

New Kenya Intellectual Property Office Expected in 2014

Daily Nation Cover November 19 2013

As discussed previously by this blogger here, the Kenyatta Administration is keen on overhauling the operations of state corporations in Kenya. It was initially reported that the Presidential Taskforce on Parastatal Reforms (PTPRs) was proposing that the three main Intellectual Property agencies that KECOBO, KIPI and ACA be merged to form a single state corporation.

The Taskforce submits that its proposed reforms are benchmarked on reform initiatives conducted in several jurisdictions including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. From a IP perspective, it is important to note that the Taskforce report recommends the merger of KECOBO, KIPI & ACA to form Kenya Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).

Recently, the Report by PTPRs was released to the public and a copy of this report is available online here.

According to the Report, all entities previously known as State Corporations shall henceforth be known generally as Government Owned Entities (GOEs). These GOEs have been clustered in four (4) broad classifications as follows:

1. State Corporations: These entities shall be incorporated and managed under the Companies Act Chapter 486 and include: a) Commercial State Corporations; and b) Commercial Corporations with strategic functions that are to be defined through the national development planning process

2. State Agencies: These entities include: a) Executive Agencies; b) Independent Regulatory Agencies; c) Research Institutions, Public Universities, Tertiary Education and Training Institutions

3. County Corporations

4. County Agencies

The Taskforce Report recommends that the Government implement a Centralized Ownership and Oversight Model of all GOEs. The shareholding role for commercial entities shall however be exercised directly by the National Treasury through a Holding Company, the Government Investment Corporation (GIC), which the National Treasury shall incorporate under the Companies Act.

The overarching legal framework governing national government owned entities as well as County Corporations and Agencies will be the Government Owned Entities Bill 2013. This Bill, once enacted, will supersede all current legislation governing State Corporations on matters of governance and include all subsidiaries of Government Owned Entities (GOEs). The Bill will also repeal all individual enabling legislations and recognize the unique characteristics of national State Corporations, national State Agencies, County Corporations, and County
Agencies.

From an IP perspective, the report recommends the creation of a new State Agency to be known as the Kenya Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).

The report at page 107 reads as follows:

Copyright Law and Law Reform

In copyright protection and enforcement the government has established Kenya Industrial Property Institute, Kenya Copyright Board and Anti-Counterweight (sic) Agency. These
institutions sit in each others’ Board of Directors. Best practice has shown that the functions undertaken by the three agencies complement each other and are domiciled in one institution in many countries. It is therefore recommended that the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) and the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) be merged into a new State Agency to be known as the Kenya Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).”

It can only be assumed that the Taskforce is referring to IP Law, IP protection and enforcement and not only copyright as erroneously stated in the Report.

On page 192 of the Report, KIPO is classified as an Executive Agency under the broad category of State Agency. The Report elaborates that the enabling legislation for KIPO is yet to be drafted. Finally the Report states that KIPO will be a State Agency under the Cabinet Secretary of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development.

Media reports indicate that President Kenyatta has directed that the recommendations in the Report be implemented in three months time. To this end, Kenyatta directed that a government-led Entities Reforms Implementation Committee would be established to facilitate, oversee and monitor implementation of the Report’s recommendations.

The Rise in Intellectual Property Disputes in Kenya: Some Thoughts

copyright litigation cyanide and happiness

Recently, this blogger weighed in on the topic of the rise in intellectual property (IP) disputes in Kenya. This theme was also picked up by the Business Daily in their regular column here. For IP enthusiasts, these are exciting times in Kenya as new IP disputes are constantly reported. Here are some of this blogger’s thoughts on the subject in no particular order.

1. Public Awareness/Ignorance

Presently information can be disseminated faster, cheaper and more widely than ever before. From an IP perspective, this situation has resulted in an encouraging increase in public awareness about IP rights. The public is keen to fully understand the nature and scope of IP rights so as to effectively take steps to cash in on their creations, innovations and inventions. Public institutions, civil society organisations supported by main-stream media, private entities and individuals are all actively engaged in sharing as much information as possible on IP rights.

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