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  eKLR. In order to discern the likely grounds of appeal, it is important to consider this recent judgment made by the High Court.
No Java Love: Recent advert in Ugandan newspaper, NEW VISION
Many readers will recall that earlier this year the Registrar of Trade Marks in Uganda ruled in favour of Mandela Auto Spares in a matter filed to oppose the move by Nairobi Java House Limited to register trade marks containing the word JAVA in class 43 (restaurant services). The basis of the Ugandan company’s claim was that it was the registered proprietor of trademark numbers 29297 JAVAS in class 30; 40162, 47765, 47766, 47767 all CAFÉ JAVAS in classes 30, 21, 32 and 43 respectively. A copy of the ruling is available here.
This blogger has learned that Nairobi Java House now rebranded as Java House Africa is in the process of appealing the decision of the Registrar in the Commercial Court. In the meantime, Java House continues its aggressive expansion across East Africa and beyond, according to Reuters.
The image above is a collage of screenshots from the websites of Standard Bank and Barclays Bank showing that both banks have banking products/services branded with the identical words: “Prestige Banking”. In this connection, readers of this blog will no doubt have come across the advertisement of the application for registration of Trade Mark Application (T.M.A) Number 79424 “PRESTIGE BANKING” (WORDS) by Barclays Bank PLC on pages 10-12 of the August 2015 Industrial Property Journal. As a result, this blogger reckons that the stage is set for Standard Bank to oppose the registration of this mark by Barclays Bank, if it so wishes.
In this regard, Standard Bank would also wish to consider the recently published ruling of the Registrar of Trade Mark in the matter referenced as In Re TMA No. 79424 “BARCLAYS PRESTIGE BANKING”, EX PARTE HEARING., 6th February 2015. In this ex parte hearing, Barclays appeared before the Registrar to challenge the latter’s decision to reject Barclays’ applications for “BARCLAYS PRESTIGE BANKING” (WORDS) and “PRESTIGE BANKING” (WORDS) for being similar to the mark SMA NO. 2976 “PRESTIGE PLAN” (WORDS AND DEVICE) in the name of the Standard Bank of South Africa with respect to services of a similar description and character as those in respect of which the applications by Barclays had been made. A copy of the ruling is available here.
“In the circumstances of this case accordingly, it is difficult to understand how the Registrar of Trade Marks whether under Section 14 or 15 of the Act, arrived at his conclusions. The marks are clearly phonetically and visually different and are not similar or identical. The goods are by colour, shape and size different. The goods are by constitution not identical or similar. The likelihood of the goods being dealt with by the usual public is meagre. The possibility of a confusion arising therefore is also meagre.” – Onyancha, J on 25th day of May, 2015.
This blogger has recently come across the judgment in the case of Pharmaken Limited v Laboratories Almirall S.A  eKLR. A copy of the judgment is available here.
The background of this case is as follows: Pharmaken applied for registration of the trade mark “ZYRTAL MR” in class 5 for human medicine. The application was examined and later approved for advertisement. Almirall filed a notice of opposition to the registration of the mark. Almirall stated that it owns the trade mark number 39575 “AIRTAL” in class 5 which has become well known to the Kenya public. Almirall further alleged that the said application resembles their trade mark “AIRTAL” visually and phonetically and that confusion would arise in the mind of the public.
As the world prepares to mark World Intellectual Property (IP) Day this Sunday April 26th 2015, this blogger has come across several World IP Day posters from around the continent created to reflect this year’s theme: “Get Up. Stand Up. For Music”. According to the map of World Intellectual Property Day 2015 Events by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there are only sixteen (16) confirmed World IP events being held in ten (10) countries across the continent. This blogger reckons that this represents a low turn-out by IP stakeholders across Africa’s fifty four (54) states given this year’s World IP Day theme and the importance of World IP Day activities and events for awareness creation and public sensitisation.
African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has announced the launch of its web-based Intellectual Property (IP) Administration System under POLite+ – the ICT Infrastructure Modernization Project sponsored by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
During the launch, ARIPO reports that new paper-based applications for patents, industrial designs, trademarks, utility models and search requests domains and notifications or documents associated to IP applications were captured into the system successfully.
ARIPO remarks that: “It is indeed a very happy moment for ARIPO and this milestone has put the Organization on the global map and in line with sister organizations that also use advanced IP administration systems.”
According to ARIPO, the overall system, when fully functional, will consist of:
– Online Services (eservice.aripo.org): a public service module where members of the public can access to online services like Quick Search, Advanced Search, IP Forms, Journals etc without having to register with ARIPO.
– E-services: a members-only area where members will require registration and acceptance by ARIPO. This facility allows for online filing of IP files, online payment of fees, sending and receiving notifications and general tracking of filed applications.
The e-filing system will be opened to the users on the 9th of March 2015 and it is therefore advisable for users to sign-up in advance for this service.
For now, following menus are available on ARIPO’s online service page here:
– Sign Up
– IP Digital Library
– Fee Schedule
– User Guide
This blogger congratulates ARIPO on this “great achievement”!
Kenya’s Patent and Trademark Office – KIPI – will hold its Open Day at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on February 28, 2014 from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
The purpose of the Open Day is to increase public awareness on intellectual property through educating members of the publc on the importance of registration and protection of their patents, trade marks, industrial designs and utility models.
As many may know, KIPI is a state corporation mandated by law to:
1) Consider applications for and grant industrial property rights i.e. patents, trade marks, industrial designs and utility models
2) Screen tech transfer agreements and licenses
3) Provide to the public industrial property information for tech and economic development; and
4) Promote inventiveness and innovativeness in Kenya.
KIPI has organised this Open Day in partnership with other stakeholders and collaborators in the field of intellectual property who will also be exhibitors during the event. This will definitely provide a great opportunity for KIPI and other players in the IP arena to meet and interact with innovators and entrepreneurs as well as the public at large
IPKenya encourages all those interested in this event to save the date and in case of any queries, contact KIPI’s Corporate Affairs Office on 0720732707 or 0720578915.