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TRADE MARKS PROTECTION FOR SMEs IN KENYA

This article is provided by Muriithi & Ndonye Advocates.


 A Trade mark is a form  of Intellectual Property Right.

  Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce. It is upon registration of an Intellectual Property that certain rights are given to the holder. These rights are known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

 Therefore, an Intellectual  Property  Right, is an exclusive right  granted to a person or organization, to have  exclusive rights to  use its   own plans, ideas,   or   other intangible assets without  the worry   of competition,  at least  for  a specific period of  time.  These rights    can   include trademarks copyrights, patents,    industrial     design    rights, geographical indication, trade dress, plant variety rights and in some jurisdictions, trade secrets. These rights may be enforced by a court via a lawsuit.

  WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF REGISTRATION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

 The  purpose of  registration  of  Intellectual  Property is  to encourage innovation without the fear that a competitor will steal the idea and or take the credit for it.

 WHY IS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IMPORTANT TO SMEs?

 Protection of  Intellectual  Property  Rights is important to SMEs in Kenya, as SMEs are important   contributor to  innovation   and  creativity   i a  Country. Hence, SMEs contribute to the economic growth of country.

 Examples  of  SMEs innovation  include  M-Kopa  Solar where  Safaricom  Limited  has  in

partnership  with  M-Kopa  launched  the first  ever  GSM  enabled pay-as-you-go solar

solution in the world that customers pay for using mobile money. The success of M-Kopa

solar has led to the creation of more employment opportunities.

 Also,  PesaPal is  making  great strides  in  bridging  the mobile  and electronic  payment

divide  in  Kenya,  and is  set  to  expand  to  more African  countries.  Pesa  Pal  was

developed by  Agosta Liko, who relocated to Kenya from  the US to start Verviant, a

software  developmencompany iNairobi. Three  years  later, the team at Verviant

launched PesaPal with a vision of enabling Kenyans to make online payments.

  ARE THERE LAWS GOVERNING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN KENYA?

  Yes. The main legal instruments for protection of Intellectual Property are:


  1.   The Industrial Property Act 2001;

  2.   The Copyright Act 2001;

  3.   The Trademarks Act (Cap 506);

  4.   The Trade Description Act 2009;

  5.   The Anti-counterfeit Act 2008.  Other IP laws include

  6.   The Food Drug and Chemical Substances Act (Cap 254); and

  7.   The Seeds and Plant Varieties Act (Cap 326) and

  REGISTRATION OF TRADE MARKS IN KENYA

 Trademarks  are  important  because  they allow your   customers  to distinguish  your

products or services  from  those of  your competitors, giving your  business  the

possibility to better market  its  goods or  services.  Therefore,  attention should  be

attached  to choosing and designing  an appropriate  trademark and protecting it by

 registering the trade mark.  Of  importance  to note is  that a trade  mark is  only

 registrable  in  Kenya, under the Trade  Marks Act (Cap  506),  if  it  contains  or  consists

 of  at least  one of  the following essential particulars:-

  The  name of  a company ,  individual  or  firm  ,  represented  in  a special

 or particular manner

 The signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his

business

  An invented word or invented words;

  A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the

  goods,and not being a geographical name or a surname.

  Any other distinctive mark.

  Prior to registration of a Trade Mark in Kenya, an applicant or his agent is required to:

1.   Conduc a Trade  Mark  search  at Kenya  Industrial  Property Institute  (KIPI)  with  a view to establishing  whether the envisioned  mark or  similar  ones have already been registered by  other enterprises for the category of products or services and markets that you are interested in. The search is done by filling Form TM 27.

2.   Application for registration is then done through form TM 2 accompanied by 7 representations of the mark.

  3. The application for registration is thereafter examined and if the examiner finds no grounds to refuse a trade mark application, then the Trade mark is advertised in the Industrial Property Journal or Kenya gazette to allow any interested party an opportunity to raise objections to the pending application prior to registration.

  4.   Any aggrieved party with valid grounds may oppose the registration of a trade mark so advertised in the Kenya Gazette within 60 days of the publication date, by filing a statement of opposition.

  5.   If there is no opposition to the trade mark after the statutory 60 days period from the date  of  advertisement,  or   i an  opposition  has  been  decided  in  the applicants favor, the application will be registered and the Institute will issue a Certificate of Registration and enter the registration in the Trade Marks Register. The mark is registered as of the date of the application for registration, and the date is deemed to be the date of registration:

 WHAT IS THE PERIOD OF PROTECTION OF TRADE MARKS?

 A trade mark registration is valid for ten (10) years from the date of application. Six months prior to the expiry of the ten years, the registrar will notify the owner of the trade mark       of        the      imminent        expiry        of        the      concerned        trademark.

 The owner may then apply for a renewal which covers the next 10 years and the renewal can continue every 10 years thereafter uon payment of a renewal fee.

 

Solution in the world that customers pay for using mobile money. The success of M-Kopa

 

Solar has led to the creation of more employment opportunities.

 

 

 

Also,  PesaPal is  making  great strides  in  bridging  the mobile  and electronic  payment divide  in  Kenya,  and is  set  to  expand  to  more African  countries.  Pesa  Pal  was developed by  Agosta Liko, who relocated to Kenya from  the US to start Verviant, a software  developmencompany iNairobi. Three  years  later, the team at Verviant launched PesaPal with a vision of enabling Kenyans to make online payments.

 

 

ARE THERE LAWS GOVERNING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN KENYA?

 

 

 

Yes. The main legal instruments for protection of Intellectual Property are:

 

1.   The Industrial Property Act 2001;

 

2.   The Copyright Act 2001;

 

3.   The Trademarks Act (Cap 506);

 

4.   The Trade Description Act 2009;

 

5.   The Anti-counterfeit Act 2008.  Other IP laws include

 

6.   The Food Drug and Chemical Substances Act (Cap 254); and

 

7.   The Seeds and Plant Varieties Act (Cap 326) and

 

 

 

REGISTRATION OF TRADE MARKS IN KENYA

 

 

 

Trademarks  are  important  because  they allow your   customers  to distinguish  your products or services  from  those of  your competitors, giving your  business  the possibility to better market  its  goods or  services.  Therefore,  attention should  be attached  to choosing and designing  an appropriate  trademark and protecting it by  registering the trade mark.  Of  importance  to note is  that a trade  mark is  only  registrable  in  Kenya,

 

under the Trade  Marks Act (Cap  506),  if  it  contains  or  consists  of  at least  one of  the following essential particulars:-


 

  The  name of  a company ,  individual  or  firm  ,  represented  in  a special  or particular manner

     The signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business

 

     An invented word or invented words;

 

  A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being a geographical name or a surname.

     Any other distinctive mark.

 

 

 

Prior to registration of a Trade Mark in Kenya, an applicant or his agent is required to:

 

 

 

1.   Conduct a Trade  Mark  search  at Kenya  Industrial  Property Institute  (KIPI)  with  a view to establishing  whether the envisioned  mark or  similar  ones have already been registered by  other enterprises for the category of products or services and markets that you are interested in. The search is done by filling Form TM 27.

2.   Application for registration is then done through form TM 2 accompanied by 7 representations of the mark.

3.   The application for registration is thereafter examined and if the examiner finds no grounds to refuse a trade mark application, then the Trade mark is advertised in the Industrial Property Journal or Kenya gazette to allow any interested party an opportunity to raise objections to the pending application prior to registration.

4.   Any aggrieved party with valid grounds may oppose the registration of a trade mark so advertised in the Kenya Gazette within 60 days of the publication date, by filing a statement of opposition.

5.   If there is no opposition to the trade mark after the statutory 60 days period from the date  of  advertisement,  or   i an  opposition  has  been  decided  in  the applicants favor, the application will be registered and the Institute will issue a Certificate of Registration and enter the registration in the Trade Marks Register. The mark is registered as of the date of the application for registration, and the date is deemed to be the date of registration:


 

 

 

WHAT IS THE PERIOD OF PROTECTION OF TRADE MARKS?

 

 

 

A trade mark registration is valid for ten (10) years from the date of application. Six months prior to the expiry of the ten years, the registrar will notify the owner of the trade mark       of        the      imminent        expiry        of        the      concerned        trademark.

 

 

The owner may then apply for a renewal which covers the next 10 years and the renewal can continue every 10 years thereafter upon payment of a renewal fee.

*THE END*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muriithi & Ndonye Advocates|

 

Commercial, Legal Research and Consultancy Department

 

Corporate Place, Kiambere Road, Upper Hill.

 

Tel: (+254 20) 2714320/1, (+254 20) 2715597/9 | Cell: 0724 634 436

 

P. O. Box 40132-00100 , Nairobi | Dropping Zone Revlon Plaza: 227

 

Websitewww.mnadvocates.co.ke

 

 

 

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