Reply to CIO East Africa: How to Fact-Check Intellectual Property Articles

Hear-No-Evil-See-No-Evil-Speak-No-Evil

This blogger has come across a recent article by CIO East Africa titled “Weak IP laws hurting aspiring IT billionaires” written by one Alex Owiti. The article, available here, contains several unsubstantiated claims, grave errors of fact and serious misrepresentations of substantive intellectual property law. Through twitter, several attempts were made by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and former KIPI CEO Dr. Kibet Mutai to enlighten the poor writer but the latter refused to admit his mistakes.

It is hoped that this blogpost will help our friends at CIO East Africa do a better job of editing all the articles they receive on IP matters. Since we are using Alex Owiti’s article as an example, we will be forced to reproduce it (in italics) in order to highlight the inaccurate statements made in the article. For purposes of this exercise, our comments will be in brackets [] and in bold.

Read the rest of this article here.

EVENT: Unveiling of Proposed Law on Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in Kenya

On Wednesday 8th May 2013, the Honourable Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai will officiate the National Stakeholders’ Validation Seminar on the proposed legal framework on Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Culture Expressions (TCEs) at the Red Court Hotel, South C, Nairobi from 9:00am to 12:00noon. The legal framework aims to protect holders of TK and TCEs against misappropriation, misuse and unlawful exploitation by third parties for use in pharmaceutical products, therapy, arts and craft, music, design and even works of architecture.

This is a historic achievement for Kenya because it is the first country in the region and Africa, to develop a draft legal framework to validate legislation to protect TK and TCEs. It is also pursuant to Section 11, 40(5) and 69 of the Constitution of Kenya, which requires the State to protect the intellectual property rights of Kenya which includes TK and TCEs. The Kenya Copyright Board recognises that the protection of TK and TCEs is in tandem with Kenya’s “Vision 2030” blue print that aims to move our country to a middle income economy by the year 2030 through wealth creation, increased trade and national development.

Alongside KeCoBo and KIPI, there will be representatives from National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), National Museums of Kenya, State Law Office, ARIPO and WIPO.

Below is the program for the day:

SESSION 1:

0800-0830

Arrival
Registration
Prayer – Dr. Benson Mburu (NCST)

Master of Ceremony/Moderator : Dr. Evans Taracha (National Museums of Kenya)

09:10-09:20

Welcome Remarks:
by Chairman Kenya Copyright Board Mr. Tom Mshindi

Introduction:
by Executive Director KECOBO Dr Marisella Ouma, PhD

09:20-09:30

Overview and Objectives:
by Chairperson Inter-ministerial Expert Working Group, Mrs. Catherine Bunyassi Kahuria

09:30-09:45

Africa Position:
by ARIPO representative from TK Division

09:35-10:00

Opportunities for improvement:
by WIPO representative from TK division

10:00-10:30

Keynote address:
The Hon Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai

10:30-11:00

Group Photo + Tea Break

SESSION 2:

11:00-11:15

Master of Ceremony/Moderator : Dr. Benson Mburu (NCST)

Presentation of the Draft Bill on Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions, 2013 – Key Highlights:
by KIPI, Mr. Stanely Atsali

11:15-01:00

Thematic Groups/Plenary Discussion/Q&A

01:00–02:00

Lunch

02:00-03:00

Group Discussion

03:00-04:00

Group reports and Recommendations

04:20-04:35

Tea Break

04:35 – 05:00

Closing Ceremony and Vote of Thanks

============

To RSVP, contact KECOBO at info@copyright.go.ke

The intellectual property tale of how Kenya almost lost the Kikoi fabric

Recently, the Standard did a feature titled “How Global Coalition saved Local Fabric” in which it called for pro-active measures and long-term strategies to avert the loss of Kenya’s intellectual property assets to foreign entities.

“The country has seen one of its most indigenous products, Kiondo, snapped by international companies and nobody knows which one is next, whether is Kikoi, Maasai shuka, Akala, Akamba carvings, Gusii soap stones or Nyatiti, an eight stringed plucked musical instrument.” – Standard.

IPKenya has in the past argued for both IP-oriented protection measures (in the short term) and a sui-generis regime (in the middle and long terms) to deal with the issue of Kenya’s traditional knowledge products.

But for those who are not familiar with the Kikoi story in particular, here’s how it went:

Continue reading