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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Kenya’s Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill Signed into Law

Uhuru Kenyatta signs Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill into law 16 May 2018

On 16 May 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured above) assented to the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, 2018. The Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 26 April 2018. Readers of this blog will note that, unlike the previous Computer and Cybercrimes Bill, 2017 that was first tabled in Parliament, the Act now contains some new provisions relating to blockchain, mobile money, offences related to cybersquatting, electronic messages, revenge porn, identity theft and impersonation, as well as the newly created National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee. A copy of the Act is available here.

From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, the Act is significant for several reasons, including that it creates new offences and prescribes penalties related to cyber-infringements, it regulates jurisdiction, as well as the powers to investigate search and gain access to or seize items in relation to cybercrimes. It also regulates aspects of electronic evidence, relative to cybercrimes as well as aspects of international cooperation in respect to investigations of cybercrimes. Finally it creates several stringent obligations and requirements for service providers. Continue reading

When Public Interest IP Goes Wrong: CIPIT Slams PIIPA

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IPKenya is pleased with CIPIT’s reaction to a recent notice that PIIPA was looking for pro-bono assistance from Kenyan intellectual property professionals.

In a post today titled “Open Letter to PIIPA on Puzzling Pro-Bono Assistance Request”, CIPIT openly confronts PIIPA on its bizarre decision to grant a seemingly well-financed company access to “precious pro-bono resources” in a personal IP war to be waged against locals in Kenya.

CIPIT calls out PIIPA on its misplaced priorities and wonders: “Why would PIIPA agree to help this company get pro bono legal assistance to fight its IP battles in Kenya? Shouldn’t PIIPA instead be advising and assisting local Kenyans to repel such IP actions?”

Read the full CIPIT response to PIIPA here.

PIIPA Pro-Bono Request for Assistance: Trademark Infringement of Solar Lighting Product in Kenya

PIIPA  PUBLIC INTEREST IP ADVISORS

Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors (PIIPA) describes itself as a global nonprofit resource for public interest organizations in developing countries seeking expertise in intellectual property matters to promote health, agriculture, biodiversity, science, culture, and the environment. It’s partner organisations include WIPO, UNECA, WHO, World Bank, among others.

Now, PIIPA is requesting any and all pro-bono assistance from Kenyan IP practitioners to combat trademark infringement of a solar lantern currently being sold in Kenya. The company behind the original solar lantern is a social enterprise whose mission is to manufacture and distribute solar light and power products throughout the developing world. The company is a member of the Lighting Africa program sponsored by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank.

After the company discovered there is a solar lantern being sold in Kenya that is infringing on its trademark, it is now appealing for IP assistance.

If you are able to provide pro bono assistance to the following request please contact PIIPA’s Pro Bono Coordinator Emilie van den Berkhof at emilieberkhof@piipa.org. “RE: Case 168-Trademark infringement in Kenya Off-grid lighting product”. Don’t forget to complete the volunteer form on the PIIPA website here.