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East Africa Quarterly Newsletter

8 December 2020
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Highlight of the year: Bowmans IP & Technology practice ranked as a leading practice in Africa

Our IP & Technology  Practice continues to be recognised by international directories as a leading practice in Intellectual Property, Telecommunications, Media and Technology. In 2020, we added to this list of accolades by being named Runner-up Intellectual Property Team of the Year for 2020 at the African Legal Awards.

We are proud to continue to be your port of call for any legal assistance you require in IP & Technology matters.


Kenya’s Senate Introduces the Startup Bill 2020 by Ariana Issaias

The Senate on 14 September 2020 proposed the Start-up Bill (the Bill) for introduction to the Senate that is sure to pique the interest of Kenyan entrepreneurs and investors who have an eye on this region. The ecosystem of an innovative start-up sector is based on the fluidity of the applicable legislative framework and the lowering of barriers to entry in the relevant market.  The Bill seeks to govern the interactions between the government, incubators, start-ups, and investors; to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship; and crucially, link start-ups with public and private investment, and research and development institutions. To read more, click here

Tanzanian Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020, Published by Charles Mmasi and Chris Green

On 17 July 2020, the Tanzanian Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports published the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020 (2020 Online Content Regulations) which replace the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations published on 16 March 2018 (2018 Online Content Regulations).

The 2020 Online Content Regulations came into force immediately upon publication. They are, for the most part, similar to the 2018 Online Content Regulations, with certain key exceptions as follows below. To read more, click here

Compulsory Licensing in the Age of a Pandemic by John Syekei and Sidharth Shah 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread rapidly across the globe and claim numerous lives, health care systems of countries are coming under severe pressure. Governments globally, including Kenya, are taking measures to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and some, in liaison with pharmaceutical companies and research groups in the private sector, are continuously ramping up efforts to find a cure or vaccine; likely to be protected through patents. In light of the race to develop and patent a vaccine, the question that arises concerning affordable and universal access is whether the Kenyan government can secure affordable access to a vaccine when one becomes available? To read more, click here

Can Another Company Own Unassigned IP Assets Held by a Dissolved Company? The Legal Position In Kenya by Mercy Mwaniki, David Opijah and John Syekei

Every now and then, a scenario arises whereby a client wishes to assign intellectual property rights such as patents, trade marks, copyrights, industrial designs or utility models, held by a dissolved company.

For context, we shall consider Civil Appeal No. 251 of 2017, Consolidated with 252 & 253 of 2017 Doshi Ironmongers Limited (Appellant) versus Thermos Hong Kong Limited (Respondent) (‘the Thermos Case’). In this matter, the Appellant submitted that by the date of execution of the deed of assignment of trade mark number 17003 THERMOS (word) from Thermos Ltd to Thermos KK, Thermos Ltd had been wound up on 21/12/2001. To read more, click here

Publication of the National Information Communication And Technology Policy Guidelines, 2020 by Angela Mukora, Rose Njeru and John Syekei

The Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication, Technology, Innovation and Youth Affairs (the CS) recently published the National Information Communication and Technology Policy Guidelines, 2020 (the Policy), in the Kenya Gazette on 7 August 2020. The Policy sets the official position of the Kenyan government on the ICT sector. The Policy will not only have an impact on the development, reform or revision of laws and regulations in the sector but also affect how the affected regulators in the sector will engage with, interpret the law and supervise industry players in the sector. To read more, click here

Kenya’s Journey Towards a Harmonized IP Legal Regime by Wambui Mwariri, David Opijah and John Syekei

The Draft Intellectual Property Bill, 2020 (the Bill) has been prepared by a Task Force comprising staff from KIPI, ACA, KECOBO, the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise  Development, with the assistance of a drafting expert from the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC). The Draft legislation intends to merge three Intellectual Property agencies namely: the  Kenya  Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), the Kenya Copyright  Board (KECOBO) and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) be merged  into one entity known as the Intellectual Property Office of Kenya (IPOK). Despite the remaining gaps and uncertainties, the Bill represents a significant and commendable step towards developing and strengthening the regulation of IPRs in Kenya. To read more, click here