For the Second Time, Sony Trade Marks Case Goes to the Court of Appeal

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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 [2018] eKLR. In order to discern the likely grounds of appeal, it is important to consider this recent judgment made by the High Court.

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Judgment by Court of Appeal Sets Stage for Opposition of “SONY HOLDINGS” Trade Marks

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“Like the High Court, we are satisfied that the Registrar judicially and fairly exercised his discretion to extend time. He properly directed himself on the substance of the notice of oppsition so that the matter in controversy may be heard and determined with the benefit of evidence. The alternative, suggested by the appellant, namely to terminate the opposition proceedings on a technical procedural point, would be ineffectual, as the registration of the appellant’s trade marks would open new front of challenge and dispute between the same parties, on essentially the same issue.
We find no merit in this appeal. It is dismissed with costs.” – Githinji, Mwera & Ouko, JJ.A in the Judgment of the Court in Sony Holdings Ltd v Registrar of Trade Marks & another [2015] eKLR.

This blogger has come across the recently reported judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of Sony Holdings Ltd v Registrar of Trade Marks & another [2015] eKLR. As previously discussed here, the so-called Sony case was filed in the High Court to challenge whether the Registrar of Trade Marks acted within his powers in extending time within which a notice of opposition to the registration of two trade marks could be lodged. Disatisfied with the decision of the High Court on this matter, Sony Holdings appealed to the Court of Appeal which has now delivered the present judgment. In its judgment, the appellate court upheld the decision of the High Court and found that the Registrar of Trade Marks had the discretion to extend time periods under Section 21(2) the Trade Marks Act read with Rules 46 and 102 of the Trade Marks Rules.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

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