In recent media reports here and here, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) reveals that it has proposed draft legal provisions to deal with the liability of internet/online intermediaries. KECOBO Chief Legal Counsel (CLC) has been kind enough to share with this blogger a copy of the proposed draft legal provisions available here. KECOBO CLC has also indicated to this blogger that there are plans underway to hold a public forum in the coming months to discuss the draft provisions and receive comments from the public.
This blogger has recently come across the reported case of Harleys Limited v Ripples Pharmaceuticlas Limited & another  eKLR. Vitabiotics Limited, a UK-based drug manufacturing company had previously engaged Ripples Pharmaceutical Limited and Metro Pharmaceuticals Limited to import, distribute and sell their products in Kenya. Thereafter, Harleys Limited became Vitabiotics exclusive distributor in Kenya. Harleys then went to court and obtained temporary orders blocking Ripples and Metro from importing, packaging, selling as well as distributing products bearing a trademark similar or confusingly similar in get-up to the trademarks owned by Vitabiotics.
The court’s ruling was focused on two main issues namely; (1) Whether or not the Harleys had legal standing/locus standi to institute the proceedings? and (2) If so, was Harleys entitled to the orders it had sought in its application?
This blogger has confirmed a recent media report that the two related rights collecting societies: Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and Performers’ Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK) have simultaneously taken five broadcasting organisations to court for infringement of copyright. The five identical suits HCCC No. 322, 323, 324, 325 & 326 of 2015 have been filed in the Commercial Division of the High Court against Royal Media Services (RMS), Nation Media Group (NMG), Standard Group (SG), MediaMax Network (MMN) and national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
PRiSK and KAMP claim that they are mandated to collect license fees on behalf of the performers and producers of sound recordings and duly notified the five broadcasters that it is under an obligation under Sections 27, 30A, 35(1)(a), 25 and 38(2) and 38(7) of the Copyright Act to pay licensing fees in respect of sound recordings and audio-visual works broadcast to the public. In this regard, the collecting societies claim that the broadcasters have all failed and/or neglected to pay the requisite license fees to KAMP and PRiSK from the year 2010 until and up to the year 2014.
Earlier this year, we discussed the successes of Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) in thwarting judicial review proceedings filed against it in two separate cases namely “Omega Dustless Chalk” and “Zero B”. However, some of the allegations leveled against ACA in these cases raised eyebrows over the state of affairs at ACA. A welcomed development for ACA came with the recent appointment of Mr. Polycarp Igathe (pictured above) as the new Chairman of ACA Board of Directors. Igathe, CEO of Vivo Energy and formerly Chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, is highly respected in the private sector and said to be committed to the fight against counterfeits in Kenya. Following Igathe’s appointment, ACA made news headlines when it announced that it had decided to send four of its senior officers on compulsory leave over allegations of gross misconduct.
This blogger has come across a recent judgment from Uganda’s Commercial Court in the case of Tuskys (U) Ltd v. Tusker Mattresses (U) Ltd  UGCOMMC 91. In this case, TUSKYS, a Ugandan Company dealing in arts and crafts, sued Tusker Mattresses, a subsidiary of Tusker Mattresses (K) Ltd over infringement of the trademark “TUSKYS”. Tuskys asked the court for damages, costs and interest from Tusker Mattresses for denying it the exclusive use of its trademark. Tuskys also prayed court for an injunction “stopping Tusker Mattresses from using the trademark” which according to the company’s Managing Director was registered in Class 18 for crafts and arts in 2008.
The following facts were agreed upon by both parties:
1. Tuskys is the registered proprietor of “TUSKYS” trademark in Uganda in respect of goods in class 18 (arts and crafts).
2. Tusker is the registered proprietor of the “Time to Go, Tuskys, Your Friendly Supermarket” trademark in Uganda in respect of goods in class 16 and is involved in the business of running supermarket retail chain under their registered trademark.
3. Tusker duly complied with the orders of Hon. Justice Hellen Obura and accordingly rebranded all its shop and items to reflect their registered trademark.
4. Tuskys avers that Tusker’s use of the word Tuskys mark in conduct of their business is an infringement of their trademark for which its reputation and trade pattern has been greatly injured.
The Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development who is the Minister responsible for industrial property rights in Kenya has appointed seven (7) individuals to serve as Board Directors of the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). These appointments took effect on the 1st of July 2015 and will run for a period of 3 years.
The announcement of these appointments can be found in the Kenya Gazette (pictured above) Notice No. 4751. The new appointees are as follows:-
The ARIPO Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants has been adopted by the Diplomatic Conference that was held in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania on July 6-7, 2015. Hence the name of the adopted Protocol is: Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. A copy of the Arusha Protocol is available here.
According to ARIPO, the Arusha Protocol seeks to provide Member States with a regional plant variety protection system that recognizes the need to provide growers and farmers with improved varieties of plants in order to ensure sustainable Agricultural production. Eighteen Member States of the Organization were represented at the Diplomatic Conference namely; Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda Zambia and Zimbabwe.