Through the Roof: Iron Sheet Firm Sues for Trade Mark, Industrial Design Infringement

Royal Mabati Factory Website Iron Sheet Box Profile 2018 Kenya Limited

 

In what could be a precedent-setting case for the roofing products market, a leading iron sheet manufacturer is claiming both trade mark and industrial design protection for two of its roofing brands against a smaller rival company. The recently reported ruling in Royal Mabati Factory Limited v Imarisha Mabati Limited [2018] eKLR was the courts’ first attempt to deal with industrial property protection for corrugated iron sheets widely used as roofing material known in Kiswahili as ‘mabati’. Although not clearly distinguishing between the aspects of industrial design and trade mark protection, the court was prepared to rule in favour of Royal and grant its application for a temporary injunction against Imarisha.

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Copyright Act (Amendment) Regulations 2015: Attorney General Hikes Registration and Renewal Fees

The fees payable to the Kenya Copyright Board are only going up by “this much”

The Honourable Attorney General (pictured above) in exercise of the powers conferred by section 49 of the Copyright Act has made new regulations.

Contrary to the picture caption above, the thrust of these new regulations is a substantial increase in the fees for applications for registration and renewal of registration of a collecting society.

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Summary of the Trade Mark Act Cap 506 Laws of Kenya

This law provides for the protection, promotion and registration of trade marks. The Act defines a mark to include a distinguishing guise, slogan, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter or numeral or any combination thereof whether rendered in two dimensional or three-dimensional form.

Section 15A of this Act specifically incorporates marks that are protected under the Paris Convention or the WTO Agreement’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property including Trade in Counterfeit Goods, 1994 as a well known trade mark.

Trade marks in Kenya are registered by Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) and administered by its Managing Director who is the Registrar of Trade Marks for purposes of the Trade Mark Act.

The Act has elaborate provisions against the infringement of trade mark rights.

Examples of Registered Trade Marks in Kenya

Words, devices, combinations of words and devices, slogans and numerals can all be registered as trade marks. Three dimensional marks can be registered in Kenya.

Below are some examples given by KIPI:

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Trade Mark Registration Process in Kenya

Registration of trade marks takes between five to six months, including a sixty-day period during which time trade mark applications are published (advertisement) in the Industrial Property Journal. This Journal is published monthly by KIPI, with electronic copies available on KIPI’s website here. Once registered, a trade mark registration is valid for ten years from the date of registration, except where the registration is expunged or declared to be invalid through a process instituted before the Registrar of Trade Marks or the High Court of Kenya. The current trade mark fees payable to KIPI are available here.

The process is set out below:

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Below are all the trade mark forms from KIPI (TM Form No. 1 – TM Form No. 55) :

Description PDF Word
TM 1 Form of authorization of agent Tm1 Tm1
TM 2 Application for Registration of a mark Tm2 Tm2
Tm6 Notice of Opposition of Application Form Tm6 Form Tm6
TM 10 Application for Renewal of mark Tm10 Tm10
Tm10a Certificate of registration of trademark Form10a Form10a
Tm14 Request to register Assignment or transmission Tm14 Tm14
Tm17 Request to alter Trade or Business Address in the register Tm17 Tm17
Tm19 Application to correct Clerical error in register or to ament document, etc. Tm19 Tm19
Tm20 Application to change name or description in the register Tm20 Tm20
Tm 21 Application to surrender Trade Mark fro all Goods and Services Tm 21 Tm 21
Tm22 Application to surrender Trade Mark for some Goods and Services Tm22 Tm22
Tm23 Application to ender disclaimer or memorandum in Register Tm23 Tm23
Tm24 Application to add to or alter registered Trade mark Tm24 Tm24
Tm25 Application for the Marking ,Expunging or varying of an entry in the register Tm25 Tm25
Tm26 Application for leave to intervene in proceedings for making Expunging or varying of an entry in the register Tm26 Tm26
TM 27 Application for search under rule 114/Application for preliminary advice as to distinctiveness. TM 27 TM 27
Tm30 Request for certificate other than under section 22 of the act Tm30 Tm30
TM 32 Application to enter or alter address for service TM 32 TM 32
Tm34 Application for alteration of deposited regulations relating to certification of trademark Tm34 Tm34
Tm43 Application to adapt Classification so that it is in accordance with section 6(2) of the act Tm43

 

Tm44

 

 

TM 48

Notice of opposition to application to have classification adapted

Application for registration of registered user.

Tm44
Tm48
 

Tm44

 

 

Tm53 Application for extension of Time Tm53 Tm53
Tm54 Order form for copy of document Tm54 Tm54
Tm55 Application to add goods or services to a Trade Mark or an Application Tm55 Tm55

 

International Registration of Kenyan Trade Marks

quail-advanced-regular-strength

Kenya is a member of both the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol, and trade marks registered via this Madrid route are recognised and enforceable as if they were registered in Kenya. This Madrid system is under the ambit of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and it enables Kenyan companies and entrepreneurs to protect their trademarks in multiple countries around the world by filing one application with one set of fees and designating KIPI as the receiving office.

For a practical example of how the Madrid system works, check our blogpost here based on a hypothetical case of a fictitious product “Quail Advanced” pictured above.

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:

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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

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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:

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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.