Kenyan Company Seeks to Stop Barclays ABSA Bank Rebrand in Trade Mark Suit

Barclays Bank rebrand ABSA Group Africa Kenya Daily Nation March 2018

In the recent High Court case of ABSA Kenya Limited v Barclays Bank of Kenya [2018] eKLR, a Kenyan company has failed to temporarily halt the proposed name change of Barclays Bank to Absa. ABSA Kenya claimed that it had received cancellation of lucrative transactions due to confusion created by the planned rebranding by Barclays Bank. However the learned judge in this case dismissed the plaintiff’s application for interim injunction to ‘restrain Barclays from using, representing, infringing, advertising or in any manner whatever the trade mark and the name ABSA or its derivatives, deductives, corollaries devices and/or anxilliaries in Kenya or in any other place or at all.’

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2018 Proposed Amendment to The Copyright Act

2018 Amendments to Copyright Act Kenya KECOBO Bill

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018 seeks to make various, wide-ranging amendments to existing intellectual property (IP) law-related statutes. The Bill contains proposed amendments to the following pieces of legislation: The Industrial Property Act, 2001 (No. 3 of 2001), The Copyright Act, 2001 (No. 12 of 2001), The Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 (No. 13 of 2008) and The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, 2016 (No. 33 of 2016). The Memorandum of Objects and Reasons for the Bill is signed by Hon. Aden Duale, Leader of Majority in the National Assembly and it is dated 29 March 2018. This blogpost will focus on the changes proposed to The Copyright Act.

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New Regulations Prohibit Registered Trade Marks as Company Names – Problem?

Companies Registry at Office of Attorney General Sheria House Nairobi by Business Daily

In an earlier post here, this blogger reported that Kenya finally enacted a new and comprehensive company law legislation. The Companies Act 2015 contains an express provision on prohibited names which states that the Registrar of Companies has the discretion not to register a company if the name applied for reservation is offensive or undesirable.

The Act states that the criteria to be used by the Registrar to determine whether a particular name is offensive or undesirable shall be prescribed by the regulations. This blogger is now pleased to report that the regulations in question have been published in the Kenya Gazette. From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, it is notable that the regulations contain a provision intended to provide greater certainty in situations where a company is registered using a name that is identical to a registered trade mark belonging to a third party.

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The Litter/Sanitary Bin Patent Monopoly Continues: Court of Appeal in Hygiene Bins v. Sanitam Services

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Readers of this blog are familiar with Sanitam Services (EA) Limited, the holder of ARIPO Patent No. AP 773 entitled “Foot Operated Sanitary/Litter Bin”. Over the years, Sanitam has been involved in numerous suits pertaining this patent as previously discussed here. This blogger has recently come across a judgment in the case of Hygiene Bins Limited v Sanitam Services (E.A) Ltd [2015] eKLR.

In this case, Hygiene Bins was in the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn the ruling of the High Court allowing Sanitam’s application for an injunction restraining Hygiene Bins from selling, providing services, using its foot operated sanitary bin, offering for sale, selling, passing off the same as theirs, trading in Kenya howsoever and in any manner likely to cause Sanitam’s business to be confused with that of Hygiene Bins and/or from trading in any manner as to infringe Sanitam’s granted patent pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

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ARIPO Roving Seminars 2015: Copyright and Industrial Property Rights in Kenya

ARIPO Roving Seminar 2015 Kenya Director-General Fernando Dos Santos ARIPO Chief Examiner Emmanuel Sackey KECOBO Director Marisella Ouma Victor Nzomo IP Kenya

As earlier advertised here, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) successfully executed its on-going series of Region-wide “Roving Seminars” in Kenya with the first two days (Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th of March 2015) being devoted to copyright matters under the theme: “Copyright in the Digital Environment” and last two days (Thursday 19th and Friday 20th of March 2015) being devoted to industrial property matters under the theme: “Protection and Promotion of Patents, Trade Marks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications”.

In his opening remarks, ARIPO Director General Mr. Fernando Dos Santos brought to our attention the important role Kenya has played as a pioneer ARIPO member state. For those who may not know, when ARIPO was established, its first headquarters were hosted at the Attorney General’s Chambers (Sheria House) in Nairobi before later relocating to its present headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. Therefore the DG described coming to Kenya and visiting Sheria House as “coming home” since this was his first visit to Kenya since taking office as Director General in 2013.

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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:

1 kosgei kipi 2010

2 kosgei kipi 2010

3 kosgei kipi 2010

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:

4 kosgei kipi 2010

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.