Quick Thoughts on “Kilimani Mums” Trade Mark Dispute between Facebook Page Owner and Radio Africa Group

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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.

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CIPIT Research Reveals Evidence of Internet Traffic Tampering in Kenya: The Case of Safaricom’s Network

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CIPIT has been conducting network measurements on Kenyan Internet Service Providers (ISPs) since June 2016 using assorted techniques. Between 6 – 10 February 2017, the data indicated the presence of a middle-box on the cellular network of one provider, Safaricom Limited (AS33771) that had not previously presented any signs of traffic manipulation. Middle-boxes assume dual-use character in that they can be used for legitimate functions (e.g., network optimisation) and can simultaneously be used for traffic manipulation, surveillance and aiding censorship.

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New CIPIT Research: Do Patents, Utility Models Encourage Innovation in Kenya?

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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.

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Why Innovation in Kenya ‘Died’ in 1985: A Response

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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.

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Some Comments on the Draft Copyright (Collective Management) Regulations – 6th February 2017

PRISK KECOBO Rights of performers artistes get highlighted National News Daily Nation February 2017 (2)

This blogger’s attention has been drawn to a set of draft copyright regulations on collective management published online here which appears to have been prepared by two consultants: Nicolas Jondet and Smita Kheria listed as such here. A link to this website and the draft regulations therein appears on the official website of Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) here.

Under section 49 of the Copyright Act, the Attorney General (AG) has the powers to make regulations for the better carrying out of the provisions of the Act. In exercise of these powers, the AG made the Copyright Regulations 2004. Sections 15, 16, 17 and 18 of these Regulations contain several provisions relating to collective administration of copyright. In this regard, the draft regulations propose a new standalone framework for “collective management”. This blogger has perused the draft and sections requiring comment have been addressed seriatim below.

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Open AIR Research into the Maker Movement in Africa

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A “Maker space” is a collective organization that maintains a workshop for individual tinkering, social learning, and group collaboration on creative and technical projects, generally among adults. This is a location in which creation occurs through interdisciplinary sharing of resources and knowledge. Put differently, a Maker space is a creative laboratory where people with ideas can get together with people who have the technical ability to make these ideas become a reality. A Maker space is often associated with fields such as engineering, computer science, graphic design and digital art, and although the physical space is important, it is the collaboration between individuals with various and distinct areas of knowledge that is fundamental to fostering this creative environment.

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ARIPO Contemplates Voluntary Copyright Registration and Notification System in Member States

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During the 25th Administrative Council Session held in Accra, Ghana in November 2001 the Republic of Malawi made a proposal to extend the mandate of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to include Copyright and Related Rights to enable ARIPO coordinate copyright and related rights at regional level. ARIPO has since taken steps to implement the mandate through policy development, capacity building and advocacy. At the Fortieth Session of the Administrative Council that took place in Harare, Zimbabwe on 5 to 7 December 2016, the Council approved the roadmap for the establishment of a voluntary copyright registration and notification system of ARIPO.

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2017 International Intellectual Property Index: The Roots of Innovation

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On February 8, US-based Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) released the fifth edition of the U.S. Chamber International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, “The Roots of Innovation,” which illustrates the value of a robust IP framework in 45 economies around the world. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the world’s leading economies view intellectual property (IP) standards as essential to the success of any 21st century economy. IP provides the living and growing roots that stimulate innovation and bolster growth. And those with the strongest IP systems stand to reap the greatest economic rewards. The 2017 Index benchmarks the IP standards in 45 global economies, representing roughly 90% of global GDP. The 45 economies covered in the Index include: Kenya, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Nigeria, Argentina, France, Sweden, Algeria, Brunei, Poland, Germany, Israel, Ukraine, Ecuador, UK, Canada, UAE, Indonesia, Switzerland, Taiwan, China, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Colombia, South Africa, Thailand, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Philippines, Venezuela, Hungary and Australia.

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Social Media and the Law: High Court Rules Criminal Defamation is Unconstitutional

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In the recent case of Jacqueline Okuta & another v Attorney General & 2 others [2017] eKLR, the issue for determination was the constitutionality or otherwise of the offence of criminal defamation created under the provisions of section 194 of the Penal Code. As many may know, section 194 provides that:- “Any person who, by print, writing, painting or effigy, or by any means otherwise than solely by gestures, spoken words or other sounds, unlawfully publishes any defamatory matter concerning another person, with intent to defame that other person, is guilty of the misdemeanour termed libel.”

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World Intellectual Property Day 2017 Theme: “Innovation – Improving Lives”

World IP Day 2017 Poster WIPO

As readers of this blog may already know, on April 26th every year, the World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated with the purpose of “learning the role that intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.” According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), this year’s focus is on exploring “how innovation is making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable, turning problems into progress.” In addition, the organisation highlighted the importance of looking at “how the intellectual property system supports innovation by attracting investment, rewarding creators, encouraging them to develop their ideas, and ensuring that their new knowledge is freely available so that tomorrow’s innovators can build on today’s new technology.”

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