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A short introduction to Intellectual Property Rights in Kenya

Intellectual Property is defined as creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce.

Intellectual property law is interested in protecting the product of human mind or product of creation.  IP is sometimes regarded as protecting the physical embodiment of an otherwise intangible asset.

The following are the major Acts governing the protection of IP in Kenya:

  • The Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
  • The Industrial Property Act, 2001.
  • The Trade Mark Act, Cap 506.
  • The Copyright Act, No. 12 of 2001.
  • The Anti-Counterfeiting Act, 2008.

The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) is the body mandated to keep a register of intellectual property. It handles trademarks, patents, industrial designs, and utility models.

Copyrights, on the other hand, are registered by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO).

IP in Kenya is considered as protected upon creation; therefore, registration is not a precondition for a claim of infringement, but it strengthens one’s case.

Registration also allows you to monetize your IP in your business. For example, when selling off company assets, its trademark can be one of the assets to be valued and paid for.

Kenya is also a signatory to various conventions, treaties and agreements that govern IP. These include the TRIPS Agreement, the Berne Convention and the Marrakech Agreement. Kenya is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).

Ii is important to note that IP protection is territorial. This means that if you have registered your trademark or patent in Kenya, that protection is valid only in Kenya. However, you can make a claim for infringement if the infringing action occurred in Kenya or benefits from that action are accruing in Kenya.

For more information, reach us on alice@amlawkenya.com or call us on 0721/0782 124 900.

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