CIPIT’s bi-annual moot competition aims to be innovative and to attract teams from across East Africa, and the 2018 edition was no exception. This year’s edition was particularly significant being the first moot in Sub-Saharan Africa to focus on Information Technology(IT) Law. The 2018 moot problem addressed the complexities of innovation, privacy and data protection in jurisdictions that operate in a legal vacuum with respect to data privacy. Therefore, participating students were able to interact with the topics of privacy and data protection and grapple with the ambiguities these cutting-edge issues pose in the legal field. This was also an excellent opportunity for CIPIT to highlight the trickle- down effect of innovations to the recurring concerns of data protection, and to nurture the interest of the young generation in IT law and policy.Continue reading
Trading in goods must not only be honest but also not be, even unintentionally, unfair. That is the basic principle that guides the interest of all those who may wish to buy or sell goods- Onguto J in Harleys Limited v Sun-Pharma East Africa Limited  eklr
The High Court of Kenya has yet again made a preliminary finding in a trade mark infringement and passing off action, this time in the realm of pharmaceuticals. The parties- Harleys Limited and Sun-Pharma East Africa Ltd are proprietors of the trade marks ‘Letrol’ and ‘Letroz’ respectively both used in the treatment of breast cancer. In a typical concurrent use of trademarks case, the Plaintiff, Harleys Limited alleges that the Defendant’s Letroz is so similar to its ‘Letrol’ as to cause confusion to the average consumer and that the name and general packaging of ‘Letroz’ is aimed to pass off as ‘Letrol’. The Plaintiff sought a temporary injunction restraining the Defendant from selling their drug under the name ‘Letroz’.
The Defendant denied any wrong doing, contending that the name ‘Letroz’ had been used openly and extensively since 2009 even before the mark was registered in 2014. According to the Defendant, there was a lawful concurrent use of both marks, which is allowed under section 15 of the Trade Marks Act and such concurrent use led to the respective marks of ‘Letrol’ and ‘Letroz’ to be associated with the Plaintiff and the Defendant respectively.
Copyright, Eneza Education, Incubators, innovation, Kenya, Kenya ICT Masterplan, Mobile Innovation, MPESA, Open AIR, simple technology, Socio-economic development, Startups, technology hub of Africa, Totohealth, USSD
Over the past few years, Kenya’s innovation scene has come to the limelight, resulting in some naming the country as the technology hub of Africa. Some of the factors that have led to this acclaim are the growing number of shared working spaces, young technology enthusiasts, incubators where developers are mentored and trained, and a craze for mobile application development. The Open AIR team in Kenya- comprised of Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, Victor Nzomo, Louisa Matu-Mureithi and myself, is conducting research on mobile innovation in Kenya. As a researcher on the team, I am helping to conduct research in the case study entitled “Open Collaborative Models of Mobile Tech Innovation in Kenya.”
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Cybercrime, referred to as crime conducted through the internet or some other computer network, has been rampant both in Kenya and around the world. According to the Kenya Cyber Security Report of 2015, the top cyber security issues in Kenya were: data exfiltration, social engineering, insider threats and database breaches. The risk of cybercrime is exacerbated by the fact that the number of internet subscribers is on the rise every year. According to the 2015 Economic Survey Report of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics internet subscriptions increased from 1, 579,387 subscribers in 2009 to 8,506,748 in 2012. To top it off, there were about 26.1 million internet users in Kenya as of December 2014. Bearing in mind that the commission of cybercrime knows no territorial boundaries, there are numerous cyber security risks posed to companies, individuals and the government alike.
It was a tough journey I must say, though there were moments of joy too, and all that contributed to what we learnt as a team throughout the startup journey. I therefore feel it is important to share these key lessons with the rest of the startups in Kenya and across Africa and in turn build a better ecosystem. Hilda Moraa
Weza Tele is arguably the most successful startup in the Kenyan tech ecosystem. Founded in 2011 by Hilda Moraa, Sam Kitonyi and Newton Kitonga, the startup was incubated at Nailab for 6 months after which it set out on its own and was later acquired by AFB in 2015 for USD 1.7 Million. Like any other startup founder, Hilda Moraa had a dream which she had to toil and moil to bring to fruition. In her book “A Kenyan Startup Journey: My 10 Key Lessons,” she highlights some of the fundamental lessons from her journey of running Weza Tele and hopes that the same will impact other startups in Kenya and Africa.
The stronger the assumption that the future will function as today does, the greater the gravitational force of the status quo. Organizations set in their ways slow down and never strive for new horizons. They are doomed to wither- Piero Formica
In his article, Piero Formica outlines why innovators should study the rise and fall of the Venetian Empire. He describes the rise of a strong nation, complete with both geographical and technological advantage, which came to a startling fall because of its veil of complacency to established practices and preferences. I recommend all my readers to read the article here.
What is the relationship between regional integration and promotion of intellectual property rights? What intellectual property conflicts, if any, arise when regional economic bodies come together to form a single trade area? How do regional economic bodies establish appropriate policies to cater for competing national & regional interests while enhancing regional and continental integration? Speaking at the Strathmore University auditorium on 4th October 2016, CIPIT’s second distinguished speaker, Dr. Henry Kibet Mutai, revealed his profound interest in regional integration and intellectual property and sought to answer these questions with a view to giving proposals for an intellectual property protocol under the TFTA.
The Agreement establishing the TFTA was signed on 10th June 2015 bringing together member states of the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to create a single market and promote trade amongst the states. The topic of the day couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as intellectual property rights will be a key area in phase 2 of the negotiations for the establishment of the TFTA.
The use of intellectual property as collateral is a phenomenon that has risen to recognition by banks and other lending institutions in developed countries, over the years. This phenomenon, previously unheard of in Kenya, is now set to get off the ground through the Movable Property Security Rights Bill, 2016.
The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the use of movable property as collateral for credit facilities and to establish a collateral registry to facilitate registration of interests in movable property. If passed, Kenyans will be able to use their intellectual property, including copyright, patents, trademarks, certificates for industrial designs, certificates for utility models, and other related rights, to create security rights through which they can acquire credit facilities.
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The world today is flooded with good ideas. Some come from large, mature, well-organized companies. Some come from basement startups. Many are innovative. Some are brilliant. Most die a lonely death, never seeing the light of commercial success. Excerpt from Bruce Berman’s ‘From Ideas to Assets: Investing wisely in intellectual property.
A lot has been said about intellectual property (IP) and innovation in Africa. As pointed out in a previous post here, some argue that failure of tech innovators to protect IP would serve as an investment disincentive thereby affecting economic development. On the other hand, the Open AIR research network has with numerous examples, successfully put it out there that innovation in Africa is thriving in the absence of IP. Perhaps another perspective here would be to examine whether this could be true for tech innovation happening in an open environment.
For the purposes of this post, innovation is the process of bringing valuable new products to market- from idea/concept formulation stage to the successful launching of a new or improved product. In the African tech scene, the process involves a lot of idea sharing, partnering in concept development, pitching competitions, and knowledge and skills sharing. And as quoted above, Bruce Berman points out the reality that while a lot of new ideas are born, most die without ever seeing the light of commercial success. In this post, I consider whether the non-use of IP mechanisms to protect ideas in the open tech environment could be a reason why most ideas die without reaping full benefits, if any. The biggest bashers to this proposition would say outright that intellectual property rights do not protect ideas. Well, I invite you to think again.
Abraham Mutai, Adika Adeya, Article 33, Authority of a public officer, Court, Cyprian Nyakundi, Defamation, Democracy, Eddy Reuben Illah, Elijah Kinyanjui, Facebook, Free speech, Freedom of Expression, Geofrey Andare, Hashtags will not free our bloggers, Hatespeech, ICT related offences in Kenya, Ignorance is not a defence, Justice Louis Brandeis, Kenya, Kenya Information and Communication Act, Libel, Misuse of a licensed telecommunication system, Mutahi Ngunyi, Obscene Material, Penal Code, Robert Alai, Twitter, Waime Mburu, Whitney v California, Yassin Juma
‘Freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth’ Justice Louis Brandeis in Whitney v California (1927)
Free speech has previously been defined as the ‘right to defiantly, robustly and irreverently speak one’s mind just because it is one’s mind.’ It is one of the fundamental characteristics of a functional democracy. In the internet age, free speech translates to internet freedom, ability to put down one’s thoughts freely on the internet systems in order to pass information to the greatest number of people possible, without interference.
Well, trickling down to Kenya’s democratic scene, it is safe to conclude that ours is a partial democracy- fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression are continuously curtailed through a myriad of oppressive laws; and while it is correct to say that bloggers and social media opinion makers should protect this right, it is also true that ignorance of the law is not a defence and that hash tags will not release our favorite bloggers from prison- knowledge of the law will!
This post serves to create awareness on internet related offences that any social media user should be wary of.