Since 2014, we have chronicled on this blog here, here and here an interesting trade mark dispute in Kenya between local company Sony Holdings and Japanese electronics maker Sony Corporation. This blogger is reliably informed that an appeal has already been filed in the Court of Appeal against last month’s decision of the High Court in the reported case of Sony Corporation v Sony Holding Limited  eKLR. In order to discern the likely grounds of appeal, it is important to consider this recent judgment made by the High Court.
Last year, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) published a notice on its website stating that a group of unnamed persons calling themselves “Collectif des Conseils en propriété industrielle” were leading a public campaign opposing OAPI’s accession to the Madrid Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. Recently, OAPI published two notices here and here informing the public that two OAPI Agents, Christian Djomga and Judith Fezeu Tchimmoe along with all other representatives from their firm, Cabinet Isis, have been provisionally suspended. In addition to several alleged violations of OAPI rules, OAPI claims that Djomga and Fezeu are involved in the Collectif’s campaign against OAPI joining Madrid.
Intellectual property (IP) observers will be keenly following this on-going matter between OAPI and the Collectif with at least three main questions in mind. Firstly, how will OAPI member states react to the Collectif’s campaign? Secondly, what will be the fate of the agents implicated in the Collectif and it’s campaign? Thirdly, how will the outcome from this saga between the Collectif and OAPI affect relations between agents and IP offices in other African countries?
On this subject of well known marks, this blogger invites readers to listen to audio recordings of the presentations made by KIPI trade mark examiners during a workshop held in January 2014 available here. Readers may also wish to download Caroline Muchiri, Advocate’s powerpoint presentation made in February 2014 available here.
Below are my reactions (in bold) to some of the issues addressed in Caroline’s presentation
Read the full article here.
In a recent media report titled: “Maasai elders swap Kenya for Holborn Viaduct”, the global law firm Hogan Lovells has reportedly invited Maasai elders to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of its intellectual property (IP) pro bono work. As the report explains:
The firm has been doing intellectual property (IP) pro bono work, led by partner Sahira Khwaja, to try to secure a trademark for the tribe after the recognisable Maasai image has been used repeatedly used in advertising campaigns without any of the spoils making their way back to the tribe itself.
Lovells is working with Elders from the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania through charity Light Years IP, which helps developing country producers win ownership of their intellectual property – should they choose to.
Light Years IP is a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by assisting developing country producers gain ownership of their intellectual property and to use the IP to increase their export income and improve the security of that income. The Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative (MIPI) was founded by Light Years IP who designed a 7 point plan and IP strategies for the Maasai to achieve control over their iconic brand.
According to Light Years IP CEO, Ron Layton:
…the Maasai people have not yet decided on trademark ownership or appointment of Hogan Lovells to carry out trademark work. The Maasai elders are visiting London to obtain information to assist their community make such decisions. Above all, Light Years IP seeks for respect to be shown to the Maasai. Hogan Lovells are assisting Light Years IP in a range of work.
First off, this blogger is ashamed that Kenya’s leading IP firms would rather religiously ‘network’ at International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meetings than take up worthy pro-bono IP matters such as MIPI.
Read the rest of this article on the CIPIT Law Blog here.
A study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative reports that Kenya’s current intellectual property (IP) rights regime performs poorly in international gauges, ranking 95th of 130 countries in the IPR Index and 106th of 140 economies in the Global Competitiveness Index 2010. The BASCAP report, “Promoting and Protecting the Value of IP in Kenya”, sets out BASCAP’s recommendations for policy and legislative changes needed to bring Kenya’s IP regime and IP enforcement efforts up to international standards.
The full 2013 BASCAP Report is available here.
+ Address deficiencies in criminal IP law and procedures, particularly fines and penalites in the Anti-Counterfeit Act
+ Improve border enforcement provisions in the Anti-Counterfeit Act
+ Address deficiencies in the Copyright Act, 2001, particularly penalties for infringement and delineation of KECOBO and ACA mandates.
+ Improve and expedite civil enforcement procedures, and procedures with respect to the Trade Marks Act, 2001.
+ Grant powers to the ACA to settle matters out of court under the Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 in addition the power to destroy counterfeit goods and impose fines.
+ Establish an inter-agency approach between the different Kenya Agencies administering and enforcing IP rights.
+ Establish an inter-agency approach with private sector coordination.
+ Expand IP-related administrative and technical capacity building
+ Increase public and political awareness of counterfeiting and piracy and the associated economic and social harm.