Chief Justice Makes Rules for Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Under the Constitution of Kenya

Supreme Court Fountain Kenya

Today, the Law Society of Kenya reports that the Chief Justice (CJ) Dr. Willy Mutunga has made Practice and Procedure Rules for enforcement of the Bill of Rights under Article 22(3) as read with Article 23 and Article 165 (3) (b) of the Constitution of Kenya. A copy of these Practice and Procedure Rules (hereafter “Mutunga Rules”) is available here.

Jurisprudentially, the Mutunga Rules mark the beginning of a new era in the determination of constitutional questions by the courts of Kenya. From as far back as the Gibson Kamau Kuria vs Attorney General case of 1988, the courts relied on the absence of such rules made by the CJ to argue that they lacked jurisdiction to enforce rights and fundamental freedoms that were alleged to have been denied, violated, infringed or were threatened.

The right to property is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. The said right was protected by Section 75 of the former Constitution. As discussed elsewhere, the 2010 Constitution in Article 40 read with Article 260 fundamentally transformed the right to property by extending its definition of property to cover both real property and intangible property rights such as IP rights. Article 40(6) also imposes a positive obligation on the State to support, promote and protect the IP rights of the people of Kenya.

Read the rest of this article over at the CIPIT Law Blog here.

How Laughter Works: XYZ Show, Parody and Intellectual Property Rights in Constitutional Kenya

XYZ SHOW BUNI TV

“A society that takes itself too seriously risks bottling up its tensions and treating every example of irreverence as a threat to its existence. Humour is one of the great solvents of democracy. It permits the ambiguities and contradictions of public life to be articulated in non-violent forms. It promotes diversity. It enables a multitude of discontents to be expressed in a myriad of spontaneous ways. It is an elixir of constitutional health.” – Justice Albie Sachs in Laugh It Off Promotions CC vs South African Breweries 2005 (8) BCLR 743 (CC)

A parody, also called burlesque, satire or spoof, in contemporary usage is a work created to mock, comment on, or poke fun at an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humourous, satiric or ironic imitation. Parody, as a method of criticism, has been a very popular means for authors, entertainers and advertisers to communicate a particular message or view to the public.

In recent times, the popularity of parodies has brought this creative form of expression in direct conflict with the owners of the original works protected under intellectual property (IP) law, particularly copyright and trademark.

Read the rest of this article over at the CIPIT Law Blog here.

Paradoxes of Equality and Inequality: Multiple Exclusions in Intellectual Property Law and Practice

ALL MEN CREATED EQUAL

…To debunk the fallacies of equality does not depend as much on might or brute force as on subtle, seemingly miniscule but powerful actions taken every hour and every day.” – Prof. Patricia Kameri Mbote, SC., 24th January 2013.

Equality remains a difficult and deeply controversial social ideal. At its most basic and abstract, the idea of equality is a moral idea that people who are similarly situated in relevant ways should be treated similarly. This idea of equality has found its way into Kenya’s Constitution under Article 27, which states that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law. Equality, we are told, includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms.

Prof. Kameri Mbote in her recent Inaugural Lecture discussed the paradoxical reality whereby the practical application of equality and non-discrimination as enshrined in the Constitution resulted in discrimination and inequality. In the context of intellectual property law, the idea of equality is indeed problematic given that the State may be said to discriminate indirectly against Kenyans on several grounds

Read the rest of this article over at the CIPIT Law Blog here.