This week President Kenyatta (pictured above) signed into law the Companies Bill 2015 that does away with the Companies Act Chapter 486 of the Laws of Kenya which is an archaic piece of legislation dating back to 1948. The new Companies Act is aimed at revolutionising business in the country by removing various pre-existing legislative stumbling blocks to doing business in Kenya. From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, the new Act has several important provisions that will affect how IP assets are managed by various business entities.
With over 1,000 sections, the new Act is incredibly detailed (bulky) and comprehensive. It codifies common law principles – in particular, the indoor management rule and common law fiduciary duties of directors. Along with this, it modernises company law by recognising electronic communication and the use of websites and other electronic avenues for a company’s communications. The new Act has also increased the penalties and fines for offences relating to companies. This blogpost will highlight some of the major changes in the new Companies Act.
In a previous post here, this blogger announced that among the topics to be discussed at the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) was the protection of intellectual capital with a sharp focus on intellectual property (IP). In addition to the IP Workshop on the first day, there was a Creative Economy Workshop on the second day. According to this workshop’s introduction, the creative industries (arts, entertainment, fashion) are attractive to many young people but few understand the business behind these industries and how to tap the creative economy to give them returns. On the workshop’s panel was a group of successful creatives who are turning the creative arts into sources of revenue, jobs and wealth creation.
In addition to the above, this blogpost will profile some of the top products and services pitched during the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Competition at GES which recorded over 790 applications from 74 countries in the sectors of agriculture, energy, healthcare, and information communication technology.
“Every Kenyan is an inventor.” – Anon.
With the enactment of the Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Act 2013 (discussed by this blogger here), it is imperative that the central government legislates on the management of intellectual property (IP) emanating from publicly financed research and development (R&D). Such legislation would ensure that IP from publicly funded R&D is commercialized for the benefit of all Kenyans in line with the State’s IP mandate under Article 40(5) of the Constitution. This is also consistent with an increasing awareness in Kenya of IP as an instrument for wealth creation.
In the context of publicly funded research, institutions such as universities can be encouraged through an enabling legal framework to protect and commercialise the fruits of their research. Such a legal framework would, among other things, clearly delineate the rights and obligations of the public funders and the researchers. In support of such legislation, this blogger submits that Kenya’s IP legal framework must reflect a manifest desire to transition from a resources-based economy to a knowledge-driven economy.
Read the rest of this article here.