2018 Proposed Amendments to The Industrial Property Act

2018 Amendments to Industrial Property Act Kenya KIPI

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018 seeks to make various, wide-ranging amendments to the existing intellectual property (IP) law-related statutes. The Bill contains proposed amendments to the following pieces of legislation: The Industrial Property Act, 2001 (No. 3 of 2001), The Copyright Act, 2001 (No. 12 of 2001), The Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 (No. 13 of 2008) and The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, 2016 (No. 33 of 2016). The Memorandum of Objects and Reasons for the Bill is signed by Hon. Aden Duale, Leader of Majority in the National Assembly and it is dated 29 March 2018. This blogpost will focus on the proposed changes to The Industrial Property Act (IPA).

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Are Intellectual Property Lawyers in Kenya Undercutting by Charging Less in Legal Fees?

supreme-court-fountain-kenya

This blogger recently received the following communication from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK):

UNDERCUTTING

The Council of Law Society of Kenya wishes to draw the attention of members to the provisions of paragraph 4 of The Advocates (Remuneration) (Amendment) Order 2014 which provides as follows:-

“4. An Advocate shall not agree or accept his remuneration at less than provided for by this Order.”

It has come to the attention of the Council that some law firms and advocates are undercutting by charging less than what is provided for under the order.

We are in the process of investigating the various complaints. Any member involved should know that this amounts to professional misconduct.

APOLLO MBOYA, HSC
SECRETARY/CEO

As many may know, the Advocates Act empowers the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court to make orders relating to the remuneration of Advocates for both contentious and non-contentious work. This section is the basis for the Advocates Remuneration Order which sets the minimum charges that an Advocate may charge for services. The Order was recently amended through Legal Notice No. 35 dated April 11, 2014. Curiously, LSK have not uploaded a copy of the Advocates (Remuneration) (Amendment) Order 2014 on their official website available here. However a copy of the Order is available on the Kenya Law website available here.

From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, Schedules 4 and 12 of the Order deal with Trade Marks and Patents, Designs and Utility Models respectively.

For instance, with regard to trade marks, the Order provides that an advocate must not charge less than Kshs. 7,500 for “taking instructions to advise on registrability of a mark or on a point of law or practice”. In a previous post here, we discussed the heightened competition among Kenyan firms with regard to trade mark practice, particularly in light of the recent 2015 WTR1000 rankings. However, this blogger submits that the fee of Kshs. 7,500 is already too low for any of the IP law firms and advocates to be engaged in undercutting. This reasoning may easily apply to other types of trade mark work such as applications, registrations, assignments etc.

With regard to patents, designs and utility models, the Order provides that an advocate must not charge less than Kshs. 25,000 to advise on patentability of an invention or registrability of an industrial design or a utility model or on a point of law or practice. This blogger submits that given the complexity of this area of industrial property work and the duration it generally takes to complete such work, it highly unlikely that any advocate or law firm would consider undercutting. However, the increased awareness among Kenyan inventors and innovators on the need to protect their industrial property may be an important factor fueling undercutting.

This blogger invites readers to share freely their views and experiences with how advocates and law firms charge for intellectual property legal services in Kenya.

Kenya Set to Earn Millions in Individual Fees from WIPO Madrid System

Kenya Madrid Declaration 2014

Beginning June 12, 2014, Kenya became entitled to receive individual fees from the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) through its international registration system for trade marks known as the Madrid System. This is as a result of Kenya’s Declaration (pictured above) in which it notified WIPO of its intention to receive specific fees known as ‘individual fees’ from applicants designating Kenya in Madrid system applications. This blogpost looks at this new development in the administration of trade marks and its impact for local and foreign trade mark practitioners.

Kenya joined the Madrid System in the year 1998. Since 1998, both trade mark practitioners and administrators have voiced their complaints about Madrid. For practitioners, the bone of contention has remained the fact that Kenyan trade mark agents are losing clients who would ordinarily be required to file applications through the agents. For administrators, the central complaint was that Kenya was making losses with regard to fees. This is because the fees that a member state earns under the Madrid System are lower than the fees that a member state would ordinarily earn under the national fees schedule.

As many may know, the formula for distribution of the supplementary and complementary fees for each designated country is provided for under Article 8 (5) and (6) of the Agreement and Article 8 (5) and (6) of the Protocol as well as Rule 37 of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Protocol Relating to that Agreement. In the case of Kenya, KIPI has been earning approximately 20 Million Shillings (Kshs. 20,000,000/=) annually from WIPO through the Madrid system.

In 2013, the management of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) decided that in accordance with Article 8(7)(a) of the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, a declaration should be made to have Kenya receive individual fees. The decision was forwarded to the KIPI Board of Directors and upon approval, the matter was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade through the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development for submission to WIPO.

While we do not know exactly how much Kenya stands to gain from individual fees, it is hoped that the fees will be much higher than the Kshs. 20,000,000/ received before the declaration was made.

From a local trade mark practitioner’s perspective, the declaration does not affect applications made under Madrid System. This is because the practitioners making such applications would be representing Kenyan residents who according to the Madrid Agreement require a basic registration of the respective mark in Kenya and according to the Madrid Protocol require a basic application for registration of the respective mark in Kenya. This means that the fees payable would be equivalent to the individual fees that would be payable under the new system, apart from the publication fees which the declaration did not include.

The effect on foreign trade mark practitioners making applications designating Kenya under Madrid System is that they would need to advise their clients on the new fees as indicated in the declaration. In accordance with the provisions of Article 8 (7) (a) of the Protocol, the fees indicated in the declaration are identical to the fees payable under the Trade Mark Rules for Kenyan non-residents. The declaration states as follows:

Designation of KENYA (in an international application or subsequent designation)

– for one class of goods or services $350 (three hundred and fifty)
– for each additional class $250 (two hundred and fifty)

Where the mark is a collective or certification mark

– as above

Renewal of an international registration containing a designation of KENYA:

– for one class of goods or services $200 (two hundred)
– for each additional class $150 (one hundred and fifty)

Where the mark is a collective or certification mark

– as above

The Madrid Trade Marks Registration System From A Kenyan Perspective

quail-advanced-regular-strength

Editor’s note: For more on the Quail farming craze in Kenya, see here.

As many are aware, the system of international registration of trademarks facilitates the obtaining of protection for marks (trademarks and service marks) and since an international registration is equivalent to a bundle of national registrations, the subsequent management of that protection is made much easier. During KIPI‘s two-day Trade Marks Law and Practice Training Course (featured here), Sudi Wandabusi, this blogger’s friend and trademarks examiner at KIPI devised a great practical scenario on the international registration of trademarks.

For purposes of the scenario, a local manufacturer, Isindu Financial Limited is the owner of the trade mark “Quail Advanced Strength” (TM No. 95229) registered at KIPI on 07-07-2013. Isindu now instructs IPKenya to advise on how its trade mark can be protected in the following territories: Zambia, Italy, U.S.A, Japan and Ireland, where its products are already being marketed and sold by authorised distributors.

Why use the Madrid System?

Since Isindu’s trade mark is present in countries outside Africa, the Madrid System is the obvious choice for registration. This system makes it possible for owners to obtain and maintain registration in a number of countries through a simple and cost effective procedure. Therefore Isindu only needs to file one international application, in one language, and pay one fee, in one currency – no translation, currency exchange, legal fee costs.

Is Kenya a member of the Madrid System?

Kenya joined the Madrid Union in 1998. It brought into force both the Agreement and the Protocol on June 26 1998.
The system is administered by the International Bureau of WIPO. There are a total of 92 contracting parties to the Madrid Union. A full list of members can be found here.

Is Isindu eligible to use the system?

Any natural person or a legal entity which has a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in, or is domiciled in, or is a national of, a country which is party to the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol can use the system.

Therefore Isindu’s entitlement to file the international registration would be that it has a a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in the territory of the Kenya.

Can Isindu claim priority?

From the scenario above, it is stated that TM No. 95229 was registered at KIPI on 07-07-2013. An applicant can claim priority
when filing within six months of the date of an earlier filing.
Therefore, Isindu is still within time as at the date of this blogpost and can claim priority.

How much does it cost?

The international registration fees payable to the International Bureau are available online here. This page also has a ‘fee calculator’ which is very helpful in establishing exactly how much is to be paid. The standard fee is CHF 903 for coloured marks and CHF 653 for black and white with a complementary fee of CHF 100. In addition, there is a handling fee of KES 1000 or USD 13 payable to KIPI.

How do the applicants or agents interact with the Bureau?

Several online services have been introduced by the International Bureau. They enable faster, easier communication between the applicant/agent and the bureau, namely:

1) Madrid Goods & Services Manager is a nifty tool that assists TM applicants/agents in compiling their lists of goods and services to file national and international applications. It is available in several languages and helps avoid irregularities in filing. The tool is indispensable as it enables one see which terms are acceptable by International Bureau and different designated contracting parties

2) Madrid Real–time Status (MRS) is a stand-alone tool that provides the status in real time of trademark documents being processed by WIPO. It enables applicant/agent to see what’s happening to their request at any point in time.

3) Madrid Electronic Alert (MEA) is a free ‘watch service’ that informs anyone interested in monitoring registration status of international marks. It is a subscription-based daily e-mail alert system that alerts when changes are recorded in the International TM register.

4) Madrid Portfolio Manager (MPM) is a web service that allows holder of international registrations and there reps access their international trademark portfolios. It comes in handy when submitting new requests for recordal in WIPO international TM Registry.

Comments:

This blogger notes that despite the fact that Kenya is signatory to the Madrid Union, other neighbouring countries within the East African Community (EAC) are not members, with the exception of Rwanda. Within the African continent, less that 11 countries are members of the Madrid system. It has been argued that the reason for the low number of signatories is that the Madrid system is not attractive to African states. It is indeed noteworthy that the larger economies in Africa are not members of Madrid, including South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. The strongest resistance has come from trade mark practitioners who have lobbied against this system arguing that they stand to lose revenue (agent fees) under the Madrid system.

In contrast, the national trade marks office, KIPI, would prefer the Madrid System as it provides an extra source of revenue. The 35% revenue sharing provision under Madrid almost guarantees the member states an extra added income of CHF 10, 000 and this sum could be higher depending on the designation. KIPI receives an average of CHF 300,000 annually through the Madrid System, whereas a country such as Botswana receives an average of CHF 500,000 annually.

For information on the Madrid System, check out the WIPO website here and WIPO also has a database of all trade marks registered under the Madrid System available here.

 

 

Local Universities To Host Two Patent Drafting Training Courses in August

This August, IP enthusiasts, practitioners, professionals and students will have a choice of two separate patent drafting courses both taking place within Nairobi. The first option is a patent drafting and dispute resolution course organised by Kenyatta University (KU). The second option is a training course on drafting and prosecuting patent applications jointly organised by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) and Strathmore University (SU) Centre for IP and IT Law (CIPIT). Details of this SU course are available online at the CIPIT Law Blog here.

Here are some of the details IPKenya readers may need to decide whether to attend both courses, or one of the two courses or none of them.

1. Dates, Venues & Duration:

The KU course runs for five (5) consecutive days from 5th to 9th August 2013 at KU’s Conference Centre.
The SU course runs for four (4) consecutive days from 12th to 15th August 2013 at SU.

2. Charges:

The KU course costs Kshs 65,000.00 which includes lunch and teas but excludes accommodation and transport.
The SU course costs Kshs 50,000.00 which includes lunch, teas and training materials. However, participants who register and pay the fee by 2nd August 2013 will enjoy a special rate of Ksh. 45,000.00.

3. Resource Persons:

KU’s course will be facilitated by Eng. Pierre Fuller, MSc. B.Mech, B.Arch – A Patent Agent at Ropes & Gray LLP and Prof. Ethel Monda, PhD in Plant Pathology at KU.

SU’s course will be facilitated by Mr. David Njuguna, Chief Patent Examiner at KIPI and Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, PhD.,JD. at SU CIPIT.

IPKenya would like to encourage everyone to take advantage of this rare opportunity and atleast attend one of these training courses. Any feedback, comments and thoughts on the courses are most welcome via the comments box below or through email at ipkenyan@gmail.com.

L’Oréal Acquires Nice & Lovely Trademark in Multi-Billion Shilling Deal

Media reports (here, here and here) indicate that the world’s largest multinational cosmetics company L’Oréal has acquired Kenya’s Interconsumer Products Ltd’s flagship Nice & Lovely brands, in a multi-million dollar acquisition reported this past week.

L’Oréal opened shop in Nairobi in late 2011 and has for the past 18 months been in talks with Interconsumer Products Ltd for a buyout deal. To facilitate the conclusion of the deal, Interconsumer Products Ltd transferred the beauty division to a new company dubbed Interworld Cosmetics, which has now been acquired by L’Oreal. The French based cosmetics giant has now renamed the new business Interbeauty Products.

This blogger salutes Interconsumer Products Managing Director Mr. Paul Kinuthia. We have all read the story of how Mr. Kinuthia grew his business from a modest sole proprietorship in the late 1990s to a major cosmetics manufacturer in East Africa. This success story of Interconsumer Products Ltd is even more significant and instructive when viewed from an intellectual property (IP) perspective.

The mark NICE and LOVELY was registered in favour of Interconsumer Products Ltd at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) in 2002 but had been in use by Interconsumer since 1999. From this date onwards, Interconsumer has been actively policing its intellectual property rights in the NICE AND LOVELY mark particularly as its products begun to gain prominence not just in Kenya but in neighbouring countries, particularly Uganda.

In 2004, Interconsumer moved to the Commercial Division of Uganda’s Commercial Court to seeking restrain Nice & Soft Investments Ltd., its servants and/or agents and/or distributors from manufacturing, selling or exposing for sale or in any way dealing in cosmetics using the names “Nice & Soft”. This case was reported as Interconsumer Products Ltd V Nice & Soft Investments Ltd (2003) Miscellaneous Application No. 256 Of 2004 (available here and here). In this case Interconsumer alleged, inter alia that the respondents without any form of authority were selling cosmetics goods in Uganda under the mark “Nice & Soft” and had attempted to register a trademark under the said names to the detriment of Interconsumer. Therefore, Interconsumer argued that it’s trademark was in danger of being wasted and irreparably damaged by virtue of such use by the respondent who is selling inferior goods similar to those of Interconsumer. On the question of whether there was trademark infringement, the court noted that the respondent’s application for registration was before the Registrar of Trademarks prior to the filing by Interconsumer of the suit which suit does not aver that it is a challenge to registration. On the question of whether there was passing off, the court found that the Interconsumer pleaded the ingredients of passing off, namely the acquired reputation. The actions taken by Interconsumer to protect its NICE AND LOVELY trademark in Uganda are instructive and must be borne in mind when considering the amount L’Oréal has just paid to acquire this well-known mark.

However before this acquisition deal, many will remember that in Interconsumer had previously locked horns with L’Oréal in both the Ugandan and Kenyan courts over the NICE AND LOVELY trademark. In the Ugandan case reported as L’Oreal and Another vs Interconsumer Products Ltd Application no. 13 of 2006 (available here), L’Oreal moved to the Commercial Division of the High Court to review the decision of the Registrar of Trademarks setting aside opposition proceedings and granting registration of two trademarks, SMOOTH & LOVELY and NICE and LOVELY applied for by Interconsumer.

In the Kenyan case, L’Oréal once more moved to the High Court to challenge the decision of the Registrar of Trademarks in rejecting its opposition of the registration of the mark NICE & LOVELY HERBAL OIL MOISTURIZER by Interconsumer. In a ruling delivered last year on 21st February, the High Court dismissed L’Oréal’s appeal against the decision of the Registrar rejecting L’Oreal’s opposition to the registration of the mark by Interconsumer. The court agreed with the Registrar on several important grounds including that the mark NICE & LOVELY was not similar to DARK AND LOVELY (owned by L’Oréal) and that there could be no confusion as defined under section 14 and 15 of the Trade Marks Act. The Court also agreed with the Registrar’s conclusion that L’Oreal had failed to show that its trademark was well known in Kenya. Furthermore, the Court agreed with the Registrar’s finding that the respondent had used the mark NICE and LOVELY since 1st March 1999 and the appellant had not tendered any evidence to show that it had objected to the use of the mark in the last five years. Therefore, the common law doctrine of honest concurrent use was applicable therefore both NICE & LOVELY and DARK AND LOVELY marks could co-exist in the Trademarks Register. A detailed synopsis of this unreported case is available over at the afroip blog here.

Viewed against the above backdrop, L’Oréal’s acquisition of NICE & LOVELY is an important lesson for trademark owners not only in Kenya but throughout the East African region. Interconsumer’s investment in registration and enforcement of its (IP) rights was a crucial factor in sealing this major buy-out deal.

Summary of the Industrial Property Act 2001

The main object of this Act is to provide for the promotion of inventive and innovative activities, to facilitate the acquisition of technology through the grant and regulation of patents, utility models, technovations and industrial designs. Section 3 of the Act establishes the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).

KIPI is the main implementation and administration agency for industrial property in Kenya. It liaises with other national, regional and transnational intellectual property offices, patent offices and international organizations that are involved in industrial property protection. KIPI’s mandate includes: considering applications for and granting industrial property rights; screening technology transfer agreements and licences; providing to the public industrial property information for technological and economic development; and promoting inventiveness and innovativeness in Kenya.

The Act also establishes the Industrial Property Tribunal to deal with cases of infringement. Section 109 of the Act also criminalises infringement on others patents, registered utility models or industrial designs.

The application forms for patent, industrial design and utility model are available here.
The current fees payable to KIPI for patent, industrial design and utility model applications are available here.

 

Patents and Utility Models under the Industrial Property Act

hippo water roller afrigarnics limited isaiah esipisu

A patent is a legal document granted by a State that secures to the holder, for a limited period, the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, and importing the patented subject matter. Any new and useful process, product, composition of matter, or any improvement thereof, may be patented, if such invention meets these three requirements: (1) Novelty; (2) Inventive step i.e must not be obvious to a person of ordinary skills in that field of art, and (3) Industrial applicability.

The following are not patentable:

  • Discoveries or findings that are products or processes of nature, where mankind has not participated in their creations
  • Scientific theories and mathematical methods
  • Schemes, rules or methods of doing businesses or playing games or purely performing mental acts.
  • Methods of treatments of both human and animals by surgery or therapy as well as diagnostic methods practice thereto, except products for use thereof.
  • Inventions contrary to public order, morality, public health and safety, principles of humanity and environmental conservation

 

The steps to be followed for grant of a patent in Kenya are as follows:

8 kosgei kipi 2010

NB: Please note that the fees indicated in the diagram above may not be up-to-date, consult the link in the box above for the current fees.

Industrial Designs under the Industrial Property Act

9 kosgei kipi 2010

An industrial design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic features of a product.  In other words, it refers only to the appearance of a product and NOT the technical or functional aspects.

Any products of industry can be protected as an industrial design including: fashions, handicrafts, technical and medical instruments, watches, jewellery, household products, toys, furniture, electrical appliances, cars; architectural structures; textile designs; sports equipment; packaging; containers and “get–up” of products

The requirements for industrial design protection are: (1) Novelty;  (2) Originality i.e. independently created; and (3) Design must have “individual character” – when overall impression is evaluated against others.

The registration process for an industrial design in Kenya is as follows:

10 kosgei kipi 2010

NB: Please note that the fees indicated in the diagram above may not be up-to-date, consult the link in the box above for the current fees.