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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unlike other areas of intellectual property (IP) law, trademark law is a subject that is accessible to everyone. To understand why goods are marked with signs, why two or more businesses cannot use the same sign for the same goods or services, why it is not a good idea for those signs to be very similar to one another, why you should not be able to stop someone from using a sign if you have it but do not use it yourself, and so on – these are topics that quite amenable to general understanding.
On 22nd January 2015, Radio Africa Group (RAG) filed an application to register trademark no. KE/T/2015/85958 “KILIMANI MUMS” (WORDS) before the Registrar of Trade Marks. The application was filed in international classes 35 (Advertising; business management) and 41 (Education; providing of training) of the International Classification of Goods and Services for Purposes of Registration of Marks in respect of various goods and services.
Dr. Isaac Rutenberg (CIPIT Director) and Ms. Jacquelene Mwangi (CIPIT Researcher) have co-authored a new peer-reviewed article titled: “Do patents and utility model certificates encourage innovation in Kenya?” recently published in Oxford’s Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. A copy of the article is freely accessible for a limited period here. In the article, it is observed that traditional measure of innovation at the country level is the number of patents filed and granted. However it is argued that this may not be an appropriate method for measuring innovation in developing countries in Africa, particularly since many patent offices on the continent are ineffective or inactive. However an exception is Kenya, which has a patent office equipped with a corps of examiners and more than two decades of experience in substantively examining patent applications.
In a recent blogpost titled “The Reports of the Death of Innovation are Somewhat Exaggerated” over at the newly revamped Afro-IP blog, CIPIT Director Dr. Isaac Rutenberg offers a response to this article published in one of the local dailies. Here is what Rutenberg had to say:
The article asks why innovation died in Kenya sometime around 1985, and proposes a number of possible contributing factors. It’s really quite insightful and thought-provoking, and many of the points are worth exploration.