Solid Intellectual Property Strategy Key to a Successful Events Planning Business

By Jade Makory**

There is a noticeable boom in Kenya’s entertainment scene. People want to meet up with friends and family, eat and drink while listening to good music or enjoying art or cultural performances. This has led to fierce competition among event planners, who feel the need to set themselves apart from other event planners. To do so, they would need to have distinctive and original features to set their events apart. These unique features may manifest themselves as intellectual creations that would require protection and management as intellectual property (IP). These features may be: branding elements such as logos, slogans and names falling under trademark law in accordance with the Trademark Act; ornamental or aesthetic features of their products falling under industrial design law in accordance with the Industrial Property Act; and original works falling under copyright law in accordance with the Copyright Act.

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Using Blockchain Technology to Digitise the Land Registry in Kenya

by Njeri Waweru**

Blockchain technology is set to be the most revolutionary technology since the Internet. it is famous for facilitating bitcoin transactions but it can serve many purposes, one of which is land title registration. Land title registration is an issue that plagues many African countries fraught with corruption and lack of transparency inhibiting the realisation of land an individual and the country as a whole.

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Internet of Things for Agribusiness in Africa

by Njeri Waweru**

The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a more integral part of the evolution of technology. It refers to a system of interrelated computing devices, objects, mechanical and digital machines that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network. It serves many different industries including healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and home and consumer electronics. The agricultural sector would benefit greatly from the evolution of IoT.

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High Court Upholds Citizens’ Right of Access to Information on Pro-Government #GOKDelivers, #JubileeDelivers Adverts: Judgment in Katiba Institute vs President’s Delivery Unit

‘We must appreciate as a nation that the right to access information is not a fringe right to other rights in the Bill of Rights. It is integral to the democracy conceptualized by our Constitution, in that it encourages public participation, abhors secrecy in governance and above all seeks to ensure that public power delegated to leaders is not abused.’ – Judge E.C Mwita, Katiba Institute v Presidents Delivery Unit & 3 others [2017] eKLR, at paragraph 57.

In a landmark judgment by the High Court in late 2017, Judge E.C Mwita in the case of Katiba Institute v Presidents Delivery Unit & 3 others [2017] eKLR found that the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU) and state officers working in the Office of the President were under both a constitutional and legal obligation to allow any citizen to access information in the State’s possession since it was held on behalf of the public. In this case, civil society organisation Katiba Institute (KI) had filed a constitutional petition challenging the decision of PDU not to provide information sought by KI relating to the #GOKDelivers and #JubileeDelivers advertisement campaigns (pictured above), including dates when advertisements were done, nature and copies of advertisements, cost of advertisements and who met the cost of those advertisements.

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WIPO Setting Up External Offices in Africa – What to Expect

On 14 December 2017, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry and Ambassador Audu Ayinla Kadiri, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva (pictured above), signed an agreement establishing a WIPO External Office in Nigeria. Headquartered in Switzerland since 1967, WIPO is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states. WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. WIPO’s network of External Offices (currently in Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and Singapore) are intended to provide cost-effective support services in relation to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Madrid and Hague systems; arbitration and mediation; collective management; and development and capacity building. In a fast-changing world, WIPO reckons that its External Offices are an increasingly important part of the Organisation’s enhanced engagement with its Member States, partners and stakeholders, on the ground, to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

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12 Reasons to Apply for CopyrightX in Kenya: The GoDown Arts Centre and Code IP Trust

CODE IP Trust and the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi are members of the CopyrightX community, a growing network of affiliated courses offered by various institutions around the world each year. CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course, offered from January/February to April/May each year under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society.  The course explores the current law of copyright mainly in the US and Kenya but also elsewhere in the world; the impact of that law on art, entertainment, and industry; and the ongoing debates concerning how intellectual property (IP) law should be reformed. Through a combination of recorded lectures presented by leading IP scholar Prof. William Fisher, assigned readings, weekly classroom seminars, participants taking the course in Nairobi examine and assess the ways in which the copyright system seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.

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Intellectual Property Collateralisation in the Age of the Movable Property Security Rights Act: The Case of Nakumatt Supermarkets

By Victor B. Nzomo & Perpetua N. Mwangi**

Nakumatt Holdings Limited (Nakumatt) is the proprietor of the largest supermarket retail chain in East and Central Africa. According to Superbrands, Nakumatt is one of the leading brands in East Africa with branches in Kenya Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. However the biggest story of 2017 has been the financial woes of Nakumatt with the retail chain facing liquidation over unpaid debts totaling over Sh30 billion. From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, Nakumatt’s brand power is based on its portfolio of over 23 registered trade marks including word marks, logos and slogans all currently subsisting on the Register of Trade Marks. This blogpost departs from the premise that the recent enactment of the Movable Property Security Rights Act was envisaged to allow individuals or businesses like Nakumatt to leverage their IP assets to access much-needed financing.

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2017 Highlight: New Path-Breaking Research on Competition Law in Kenya

In 2017, Kenya became the first country in Africa to adopt specific legislative provisions on ‘buyer power’ through the competition law framework. According to Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), abuse of buyer power is an emerging competition issue in the Kenyan economy particularly in the retail sector because of the failure of buyers to honor their contractual obligations with their suppliers. As such, the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2016 proposed the introduction of new provisions on buyer power under Section 24 of the Act (on Abuse of Dominance). The Bill was signed into law on 23 December 2016 and it took effect from 13 January 2017.

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E-Commerce and the Law in Kenya: Domain Names, Trade Marks and Dispute Resolution

This semester, we kick off a brand new course for final year undergraduate law students on e-commerce and the law. This course aims at explaining the legal challenges that are posed by electronic commerce. We shall also contextualise and problematise on-going legal/policy developments in Kenya to regulate electronic commerce. In this blogpost, we explore the implications of the registration of domain names for trade marks. In the context of e-commerce, we examine the existing online dispute resolution mechanisms, and in particular the rules created by ICANN and KENIC for online dispute resolution of issues relating to domain-name registration.

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Biometrics Demystified and the Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation

Recently, a text from a local telecommunications company inquired whether its subscribers knew that they could now enroll their voice so they could access various services securely and conveniently. This added a further dynamic to the on-going debate in several quarters on the accelerated adoption of biometrics in Kenya. Does Kenya have the necessary framework in place to safeguard the privacy and security of its citizens? The reality is, innovators will not wait for an optimal legal environment; with agile technologies, time is of the essence. But what are biometrics anyway? Whether it is voice or facial recognition, our researcher Francis Monyango has developed some engaging infographics to help a) demystify biometrics and b) trace the history of biometrics in Kenya. This accompanies our policy brief on forthcoming research and which our partner Privacy International published on their blog here.

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