Kenya, the Ministry of Health
continue to ardently conduct tests, treat and otherwise manage the impact of
the virus. Additionally, the President outlined various
actions to be taken during this crisis including controlled
movement to and from the affected areas mainly metropolitan areas. Other recommended
measures include social distancing, washing hands and staying home.
These measures require social and behavioural changes from the people.
Below, we take note of various contributions by
intellectual property during these times and particularly in influencing the
people’s response to the crisis. These measures are mainly by private persons
as IP is a private right.
As Kenya joins the rest of the world in fighting
the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) , various measures have been introduced
affecting our day to day lives both socially and economically . The past three
weeks have seen the Kenyan Government through presidential directives and press
statements from the ministry of health take measures to contain and minimize
the spread of the highly infectious virus. Various government institutions,
organizations and companies that serve huge populations of Kenyans have been
forced to either completely shut down and resort to working from home.
On 15th March 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta
through a press statement instituted measures aimed at mitigating the
spread of the virus among which included a directive instructing government
offices , businesses and companies to allow employees where possible to work
from home with the exception of employees working in critical and essential
The judicial system in Kenya is key in the
dispensation of justice, handling numerous cases from civil to criminal on a
daily basis services of which are primarily run on face to face interactions . Chief
Justice David Maraga in addressing the situation released a press statement with directives on the Judiciary’s position in mitigating COVID -19. The
press statement covered administrative issues among which included the scaling
down of court activities throughout the country as well as the suspension of
all appeals , hearings and mentions in criminal and civil cases in all courts
As the number of COVId-19 infections increased in
the country more stringent measures were issued by the government through
the Ministry of Health . On 19th March,
the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) announced further measures to be
taken , among them included directions advising advocates to adopt e-filing in
the High Court Commercial and Tax Division as well as the Chief Magistrate’s
Commercial Court to avoid visiting the courts. Judges were consequently advised
to consider electronic delivery of ruling, where appropriate.
A game enjoyed by many from the comfort of their homes or the now decried
social gatherings. While enjoying a good match or criticising the skill of
players, ever think of the legalities behind bringing the game to your screen
was able to reach your screen? The case of Optima Sports Management (UK) Limited v Kenya
Broadcasting Corporation 
gives us a sneak preview of what happens or may happen before the game is aired,
albeit through litigation. The case
involves the lucrative business of broadcasting rights over the La Liga and
Copa del Rey and the English Premier League matches. Ideally, entities bid for
licences from the official broadcasters who sub-licenses them to air the game
in specific territories ensuring the game is enjoyed by many of its fans.
the 2008/2009 football season, Optima Sports Management secured exclusive rights
to broadcast some matches in the La Liga and Copa del Rey and the English
Premier Leagues in Kenya. Optima in turn entered into two sublicense agreements
with the free to air network in Kenya, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) to
air the matches. Why KBC, a free to air TV in Kenya you may ask? The strategy
for the Premier League is to ensure the widest possible access to their competitions for the many
passionate fans across Africa. The free to air television have wide coverage in
the countries and are accessible without a fee. This provides the Premier League
with an opportunity to create and maintain a wide fanbase, their geographical
“The World can be happy
that scientific resources have been mobilized so quickly without capitulating
to false IP claims…”
On 29th March
2020, The Ministry of Health (“MoH”) indicated that the government had
initiated plans to manufacture Protective Personal Equipment (“PPE”) materials
locally for self-sustainability.
This pronouncement intimated the
possibility of enhancing local manufacturing capacity. The government’s intervention
followed the interim guidance issued by World Health
Organization (“WHO”) on the 27th of February 2020 on the rational
use of PPEs.
in the global supply chain of PPE, particularly for medical masks and
respirators; gowns and goggles calls for a local intervention. This is perhaps
to guard against the potential outcome of an overrun of COVID 19 patients in
Kenya, likely to overwhelm our medical systems.
Rivatex East Africa
Limited and Kitui County Textile Center (“Kicotec”), among other local
manufacturing companies, have been earmarked to start the manufacturing of PPEs
Several aspects of local manufacturing affect Intellectual
Property Rights inter alia Patents,
Trademarks, Trade secrets, Utility Models and Industrial designs, which ought
to be leveraged for strategic advantage in product development.
create monopolies for rights holders thereby putting them in a strong position
to set prices.
Such prices have made the required products costly hence inaccessible. The
monopoly contributes to the inaccessibility of medicines. Remission of
royalties and removal of restrictions on generic competition, leads to
affordable medicines through reduced prices, sometimes by 99%.
Trademarks are source
identifiers which influence consumer decisions.
A trade secret is confidential information that gives a company an economic
advantage over its competitors and is often a product of internal research and
Utility models are patent-like as they protect innovations through a cheaper
and easier to obtain and maintain process.
They have a shorter grant lag, less stringent than patent requirements and a
shorter protection period as registration expires at
the end of the tenth year after the date of filing and is not be renewable.
Industrial designs are
concerned with the appearance of a product as they protect the ornamental, or
aesthetic aspect of a useful article that can be reproduced in large quantities.
They are particularly important as we continue to see articles such as face
masks and other PPEs appealing to the eye and feel.
early this year, the world has been facing a devastating pandemic that has
significantly altered how people live and work. Following the World Health
Organisation’s (WHO) classification of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
as a pandemic, governments around the world have begun to implement mitigative
measures such as mandated social distancing, partial lockdowns and travel
restrictions. Seeing as there is no cure or vaccine, slowing down the rate of
infection appears to be the best bet the world has to weather this storm.
these measures are crucial, the importance of maintaining productivity so as to
prevent future economic woes has also been recognised. A number of schools,
universities and employers have altered their programs to accommodate working
from home (WFH) schedules. In order to support this, and general social
distancing measures, governments such as France and Norway have
announced varied lifeline packages ranging from exemptions from utilities
payments to welfare stipends to businesses. This type of support explicitly
takes for granted certain items as essentials in light of the pandemic: food,
water and medical supplies. However, with WFH schedules, access to the internet
appears to be rising to the level of a utility worthy of
protection/safeguarding. With WFH schedules, it is natural for networks to be
overwhelmed with users flooding their internet service providers (ISPs) with
requests for data packets ranging from livestreaming to video conferencing
leading to a potential gridlock. A gridlock would mean a complete standstill in
productivity and would frustrate an already agitated population who are
distanced from loved ones, relying on internet connectivity to keep in touch
and to meet work deadlines.
(Amendment) Act (2019) (the Act)introduced
a host of reforms to the national copyright regime. One of the more notable
changes was the introduction of a Notice and Takedown (NTD) procedure through
which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can obtain safe harbor upon compliance.
This piece follows up on the discussion introduced in an earlier post on the digital rights implications of the NTD
structure of the Act.
This piece carries on from the conclusion of the
earlier blog by analyzing the implications of ISPs’ use of automation in the discharge
of their statutory duties. In this vein, this discussion will centre on the
growing use of automated tools and processes and the consequent impacts on the
THE NEW COPYRIGHT POLICE?
As Penney declares, the age of automated legal
enforcement is at hand.
Technological progress opens a wide breadth of possibilities in which automated
tools can make legal processes more efficient and effective. Tools such as predictive
policing, cognitive computing and AI based surveillance have been reported to
significantly improve the efficiency of enforcement tasks.
Copyright enforcement has traditionally been an
arduous task. Logistical, financial and
practicality reasons have often meant that an individual rights holder will
often face numerous challenges in attempt to protect his/her original work from
being copied, reproduced or otherwise distributed without his/her consent. This
difficulty was exacerbated by the dawn of the digital age which raised
infringing capabilities significantly. A panacea to these issues has been
touted to be the use of automated tools
The novel Coronavirus has spread from China to other countries in the world. The virus which was first detected in December 2019 in the Wuhan region in China is not sparing even developing countries. There is no known cure for the disease, however, pharmaceutical companies are working to help develop a cure. There are only numerous clinical trials of drugs being done with the hope that a cure will be found. Currently, the response to the outbreak in many countries has been to stop flights to and from badly affected areas. At a medical level, the response has been to manage the symptoms of the disease for those infected. Additionally, countries are establishing centres within existing health facilities to deal with any suspected cases. Of particular interest in this pandemic are developing nations whose medical systems are known to be strained. Most African nations categorised as developing are improving their capacity to detect and cope with it. While this is noteworthy, the writer cannot help but wonder whether the same progress will be made in the event a cure is discovered. How accessible will the drugs be to developing nations to deal with a pandemic?
By Abdulmalik Sugow, Beatrice Mungai andJentrix Wanyama
Prelude: This blog post discusses misinformation in light of the recent threat posed to the world by COVID-19. It is not lost on us that widespread sensitization and a joint effort at combating the spread of the virus is crucial to our survival. To that end, kindly find accurate, up to date information about the virus here and here. We wish all our readers good health in this time of uncertainty.
In the wake of a pandemic, credible and accurate information serves as a lifeline, helping to ‘flatten the curve’ as some have termed attempts to stem the spread of disease. In recent months, the world has been combating the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the latest strand of the long existing coronavirus. At the same time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been fighting what it has termed an ‘infodemic’ i.e., ‘an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.’
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The very next day, Kenya reported its first case. Since then, social media has been a flurry of information (both accurate and wildly inaccurate) regarding the spread of the disease in Kenya. Initially, there was little communication from the Ministry of Health and the Government Spokesman about the disease, and Kenya’s plans to mitigate its spread. Meanwhile, Kenyans took to social media using hashtags such as #coronaviruske to discuss the matter and many speculations were made as to the potential outcome of the spread of COVID-19.
Defined as the process of ‘imposing checks, direct or indirect,
governmental or otherwise on the exercise of one’s right to free speech’,
censorship is an inhibition of the right to speak one’s mind freely.
This right is enshrined in Article 33 of
the Constitution and includes the freedom to seek and receive information. Read
together with Article 32 and international instruments, this includes the right
to express opinions without interference in a wide range of areas
both private and public.
As defined in our earlier
blogging is part of web content that allows people to create their own content
and interact with content from others. Censorship places limits on the ideas
that can be shared as part of that content, for both negative and positive
reasons which will be discussed below.
The publication of opinions on the internet has seen two common strands
of censorship play out on a digital stage; autonomous censorship and legal
censorship both of which are elucidated below.
knowledge.It’s a wayto achieve
the age of social media and use of online platforms, blogging has proved to be
a trail blazer. It has not only expanded the creative industry, but also
created jobs for many people and expanded businesses for many companies. A blog
is a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences,
observations, opinions, etc.;
this is often represented in words coupled up with images. The content in blogs
thus attract intellectual property rights, in the form of copyright. This is
because their subject matter are works that are eligible for copyright
this piece we will look at licensing of the content of blogs and what an
entrant blogger should look out for and consider when starting their blog.
is the granting of formal permission for one to use something belonging to
another without violating their rights. In
this case, an owner of a work(s) grants a third party the right to use their
work(s) under defined terms and conditions.