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Kenya is a key economic hub in East Africa- an area which has witnessed striking economic growth in recent years. Increased foreign investment and vibrant local entrepreneurship are fueling increased trademark activity, so all firms on the accompanying tables have enjoyed uplifts in their filing work. – WTR 1000 6th edition

A new research publication- WTR 1000- The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals(2016 edition) has been published online  by the World Trademark Review listing law firms and individuals that offer topnotch, reliable and quality trademark services. The publication, which is now on its 6th edition, ranks practitioners and their firms in trademark practice exclusively and is a great guide for multinational companies looking to develop their brands and get top-quality services in the event of trademark infringement.

The listing is a result of market research through face to face conversations, telephone interviews and other correspondence over a 4 month period with lawyers, attorneys, clients and written submissions from law firms. The leading firms and individual practitioners are then placed in categories of Gold, Silver and Bronze depicting a firm’s and/or individual’s reputation in the market for trademark practice.

Well then, here is the list of top law firms in trademark practice in Kenya for the year 2016:

Gold-Coulson Harney Advocates, Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates and Kaplan & Stratton Advocates in that order.
Silver-CFL Advocates and MMC Africa Advocates respectively.
Bronze-Daly & Figgis Advocates, Gichachi & Co Advocates, Hamilton Harrison & Mathews (incorporating Oraro & Co Advocates), Ndungu Njoroge & Kwach Advocates and Simba & Simba Advocates in that order.

It is worth noting that these are the same firms that were listed in the 5th edition of the WTR 1000 last year; with the only difference being in the gold, silver and bronze rankings and with a new entrant- Gichachi & Co Advocates. The first three firms i.e. CH, IKM and Kaplan have maintained their positions as the best law firms in trademark practice in Kenya with their success being attributed mainly to the bigwigs heading IP divisions of the firms.

‘The unstoppable John Syekei is the spark plug behind the group’s success. He takes a positive, solutions driven attitude to problems, which is why companies like Diageo turn to him when things get sticky- CH

William Ikutha Maema leads the line here. An experienced practitioner, he is really easy to cooperate with; reasonable, friendly and forthright, he is willing to resolve matters without taking anything personally, which is refreshing- IKM.

IP specialists here, including Patrick Ikimire, Samuel Wainaina demonstrate outstanding attention to detail. They take cue from seasoned pro Peter Hime in this regard- Kaplan.’ WTR 1000 reviews on CH, IKM and Kaplan.

Competition has mainly been among the firms under the silver and bronze categories. Last year, they were all under the silver category but clearly, MMC Africa and CFL Advocates managed to edge out Daly & Figgis Advocates, HHM & Oraro (this is remarkable considering D & F and HHM are old firms with vast experience in law practice), Ndungu Njoroge & Kwach Advocates and Simba & Simba Advocates.

Gichachi & Co. Advocates makes its debut in the WTR 1000 this year with all plaudits going to its founding partner, James Gichachi, who enjoys close relations with firms in South Africa and the US. The firm is hailed for its ‘slick filing capabilities and straight-down-to-business representation in opposition and expungement proceedings, as well as civil infringement disputes.’

Next year, it will be interesting to see whether the 3 giants in the gold category will keep at it, whether they will be joined by other firms, whether Gichachi & Co Advocates will withstand the heat and whether another firm will join the coveted ranks of the WTR 1000.