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Intellectual Property Newsletter – November 2016

25 November 2016
– 2 Minute Read


Welcome to this year’s 11th issue of IP Monthly, filled with interesting news articles and developments. We have included groundbreaking decisions from the Kenya Industrial Property Institute and from around the world.

Kenyan software used to prevent fraud in US elections

There had been and still is much to talk about rigging and fraud in the recently concluded US presidential elections. Kenya has once again demonstrated its world leadership in technological innovations built to meet societal needs. The Kenyan company Ushahidi launched a platform on its website that allowed voters to report irregularities on polling day. The platform named USA Election Monitor was used to track voting irregularities reported via website, email, twitter, SMS and other social media platforms and posts accounts to an online interactive map.

The Ushahidi app was developed in the wake of the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya after the former president, Mwai Kibaki was declared winner in a controversial presidential election. Media houses faced great difficulty tracking the violence that erupted between the different ethnic groups. The app’s four original creators — Erik Hersan, Juliana Rotich, Ory Okollo and and David Kobia — founded the Ushahidi international IT company in May 2008. The venture has since received Silicon Valley backing and its software has been deployed 100 000 times in 160 countries.

The software is able to give a visual representation of the events on the ground based on the reports received from voters or users of the Ushahidi platform. The operation in the US was managed through a team of 30 staff in eight countries including the US.