Fair Dealing, Book Piracy and Anti-Photocopying Debate in Kenya

As readers may know, there has several media reports by book publishers, book authors and their supporters raising an alarm about the rising level of piracy of printed texts. Japhet Otike, a professor at Moi University, offers a user’s perspective in a recent newspaper article titled: “Photocopying of a copyrighted book is not quite illegal”. His overall argument, which this blogger concurs with, is that copyright is and should be balanced to take into account the rights and interests of owners and users of copyright works respectively. In this regard, Otike argues that the term ‘piracy’ should be reserved only for those involved in mass production of copyrighted materials for commercial purposes. Thus students and teachers who produce a few pages from a book for non-commercial purposes should not be lumped together with hardcore pirates making a fortune from making, distributing and selling unauthorised copies of printed works.

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CopyrightX 2017 Recap: A Kenyan Perspective

As many readers may know, this blogger is affiliate faculty teaching the CopyrightX course in Nairobi, Kenya. CopyrightX is a 12 week course, affiliated with the Harvard Law School and Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society and led by Prof. William W. Fisher III, WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property, Harvard Law School. CopyrightX includes three sets of students and teachers: roughly 90 students attending a course at Harvard Law School taught by Prof. Fisher; roughly 570 students attending an online course taught by 23 Harvard teaching fellows; and roughly 500 students attending 19 courses taught by faculty at affiliated universities and institutions.

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Irony: Lack of Creativity and Innovation in Celebrating World Intellectual Property Day

The World Intellectual Property Day (WIPD) is celebrated by Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on every 26th of April. This coincides with the date on which the Convention establishing WIPO originally entered into force in 1970. Year in, year out, the WIPD theme tend to revolve around creativity and innovation. In 2017, the theme was “Innovation – Improving Lives” and WIPO released this theme earlier than usual to aid in preparations by member states to mark the day. This year’s theme took this blogger back to WIPD 2012 when we celebrated “Visionary Innovators” with emphasis on people whose innovations transform our lives.

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Pharmaceuticals Battle in Trade mark Infringement and Passing off case: Harleys Ltd v Sun-Pharma


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Trading in goods must not only be honest but also not be, even unintentionally, unfair. That is the basic principle that guides the interest of all those who may wish to buy or sell goods- Onguto J in Harleys Limited v Sun-Pharma East Africa Limited [2017] eklr

The High Court of Kenya has yet again made a preliminary finding in a trade mark infringement and passing off action, this time in the realm of pharmaceuticals. The parties- Harleys Limited and Sun-Pharma East Africa Ltd are proprietors of the trade marks ‘Letrol’ and ‘Letroz’ respectively both used in the treatment of breast cancer. In a typical concurrent use of trademarks case, the Plaintiff, Harleys Limited alleges that the Defendant’s Letroz is so similar to its ‘Letrol’ as to cause confusion to the average consumer and that the name and general packaging of ‘Letroz’ is aimed to pass off as ‘Letrol’. The Plaintiff sought a temporary injunction restraining the Defendant from selling their drug under the name ‘Letroz’.

The Defendant denied any wrong doing, contending that the name ‘Letroz’ had been used openly and extensively since 2009 even before the mark was registered in 2014. According to the Defendant, there was a lawful concurrent use of both marks, which is allowed under section 15 of the Trade Marks Act and such concurrent use led to the respective marks of ‘Letrol’ and ‘Letroz’ to be associated with the Plaintiff and the Defendant respectively.

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Mobile Innovation as the Cornerstone of Socio-economic Development in Kenya


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Over the past few years, Kenya’s innovation scene has come to the limelight, resulting in some naming the country as the technology hub of Africa. Some of the factors that have led to this acclaim are the growing number of shared working spaces, young technology enthusiasts, incubators where developers are mentored and trained, and a craze for mobile application development. The Open AIR team in Kenya- comprised of Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, Victor Nzomo, Louisa Matu-Mureithi and myself, is conducting research on mobile innovation in Kenya. As a researcher on the team, I am helping to conduct research in the case study entitled “Open Collaborative Models of Mobile Tech Innovation in Kenya.”

Mobile Innovation in Kenya

As a Kenyan, I am seeing mobile applications create solutions to problems facing the average Kenyan in sectors such as health, agriculture, transportation, education, financial services, entertainment, and security. Through the use of simple USSD technology, Kenyans are able to access life-changing services, which would not otherwise be available. Mobile applications are becoming the cornerstone of socio-economic development; helping to improve the living standards of Kenyans as well as enabling startups to reap the benefits of their innovative ideas.

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Local Software Firm NLS Sues Kenya Commercial Bank for Copyright Infringement, Obtains Temporary Injunction

Nagalakshmi Solutions Ltd (NLS) is a Nairobi-based ICT company which specialises in provision of banking and financial innovations, which includes Nuron, its offline branch solution. One of its solutions, Tera Integration Platform (TIP) is used by a number of banks and financial institutions in Kenya including National Bank, National Industrial Credit Bank (NIC Bank), Sidian Bank and of course, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB). According to media reports, NLS and KCB had entered into a 5-year “agreement”/”contract” between 2011 and 2016. It is alleged that negotiations to renew the contract failed and the contract was terminated by NLS in November 2016 but KCB continued to use the NLS software without permission. As a result, NLS filed suit against KCB.

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Book Review: Property Law by Strathmore Law School Authors

We are pleased to announce that three of our Strathmore Law School colleagues, Francis Kariuki, Smith Ouma and Raphael Ng’etich have just completed a new book titled: “Property Law” recently published by Strathmore University Press. Many will recall that Raphael worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at CIPIT. This book is the second installment in SUP series, Strathmore Studies in Law, which was conceived in 2015 with the dual aim of producing high quality textbooks for the various areas of law for which there is little updated commentary, and giving SLS Faculty opportunities to publish said high quality scholarship.

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Vote for CIPIT in the 2017 Kenyan Blog Awards – Best Education Blog Category!

BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards logo

Please VOTE for the CIPIT Blog by clicking here – then scrolling down to 14(a) to select our blog URL and then clicking ‘Submit’ at the end. Your vote will be authenticated by SMS.

We are pleased to announce that this blog (Strathmore Law School’s CIPIT Blog) has been nominated in the Best Education Blog Category of the 2017 Bake Awards. These Awards organised by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) recognize exceptional Kenyan blogs that have great and useful content presented in a creative and innovative format.

After winning the first-ever Best Education Blog award in 2015, CIPIT has been nominated again this year. The “Best Education Blog” category rewards blogs about education matters and those run by educational institutions. With your help, Strathmore University could become the first educational institution to receive this Award twice!

Voting will run from today 3rd April 2017 and will end on May 9th 2017. Let’s spread the word using the twitter hashtags: #BAKEAwards and #VoteCIPITStrath

About the CIPIT Blog

Strathmore Law School’s CIPIT Blog is an independent and authoritative voice which explores legal governance issues in intellectual property (IP) and information technology (IT). Founded in 2012, the CIPIT Blog is the first of its kind in East and Central Africa. It is run thanks to contributions by the students and staff at Strathmore Law School and covers on an ongoing basis topical issues of the day.

Kenya Copyright Board Registers MPAKE as Collecting Society for Authors, Composers and Publishers of Musical Works

Music Publishers Association of Kenya MPAKE 2017 Logo

Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has registered a new collective management organisation (CMO) to collect license fees and distribute royalties on behalf of authors, composers and publishers of musical works. The registration is for the normal statutory period of one year from March 2017 to February 2018. According to KECOBO, the new CMO, Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE), had satisfied the requirements of Section 46 of the Copyright Act, 2001 and Regulation 15 and 16 of the Copyright Regulations, 2004.

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