By John Syekei Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Welcome to the latest issue of the IP & Technology Digest.

We hope that you will find the features in this Digest informative.

Snapshot of Our Practice

Our IP & Technology Practice, which includes a vibrant data protection practice, has been busy advising on a wide range of IP and technology transactions over the past month. We have acted for major companies on IP related disputes touching on patents, copyright and trademarks as well as advising on anti-counterfeit actions.

We continue to be a market leader in advising on data privacy, an area that is ever evolving in Kenya, following the setting up of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) and the publication of the Draft Data Protection Regulations, which we expect to be finalised and gazetted soon.

Updates From Regulatory Bodies


The Industrial Property Journal for the month of September 2021 is now available on the KIPI website. You can peruse it here.


Request for comments from music stakeholders on CMOs sector

KECOBO has issued a public notice dated 21 September 2021 inviting comments and proposals from music stakeholders on the management of the sector following the recent events in the collective management sector. The comments and proposals in the form of written memoranda are welcome from individuals, groups, associations or firms.

To read more, click here.

Source: KECOBO Website (21 September 2021).


ARIPO Regional Patent Examination Training Programme Launched

ARIPO and the European Patent Office (EPO) launched the ARIPO Regional Patent Examination Training (ARPET) Programme on September 8, 2021. The programme is organized within the framework of the Reinforced Partnership between the EPO and ARIPO, and the two organizations jointly deliver it.

To read more, click here.

Source: ARIPO Website (10 September 2021).


OAPI inaugurates its documentation center in Malabo

The President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Théodoro OBIANG NGUEMA inaugurated the OAPI Intellectual Property Documentation Center (CDPI) on Thursday, September 23, 2021 in Malabo. OAPI has undertaken a vast program of building documentation centers in member states. These centers are intended to make available to researchers, students, economic operators, inventors, investors and even the public authorities of the countries concerned, scientific, technical and legal information and documentation relating to the Intellectual Property system in Africa and in the world.

To read more, click here.

Source: OAPI Website (23 September 2021).

OAPI-AFRIPI: united front against drug fraud

The regional workshop on the issue of substandard, counterfeit and falsified drugs in Africa organized jointly by OAPI and the AFRIPI project opened on Monday, September 27, 2021, in Yaoundé.

To read more, click here.

Source: OAPI Website (27 September 2021).


Liechtenstein Joins WIPO's Beijing Treaty and Marrakesh Treaty

WIPO Director General Daren Tang on September 22, 2021, received the instruments of accession to the Beijing Treaty and the Marrakesh Treaty from Ambassador Kurt Jäger, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.

To read more, click here.

Source: WIPO Website (22 September 2021).

Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

No new updates.

The Communications Authority of Kenya

Authority Launches New Spectrum Monitoring and Management System in Nyeri

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has launched a new system to monitor and manage frequencies within the Central, Eastern and Northern Kenya regions. The Spectrum Management and Monitoring System (SMMS) is expected to greatly enhance service delivery by reducing the time taken to process radio spectrum licenses as well as that of resolving radio interference complaints.

To read more, click here.

Source: CA Website (17 September 2021).

Authority Launches New Child Online Safety Campaign

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has unveiled a three-month awareness campaign to protect children and their digital footprint, as it steps up the advocacy on responsible use of Internet. The Child Online Protection (COP) Phase II focuses on children and youth as the primary messengers and advocates to help promote awareness on benefits and vulnerabilities in the cyberspace amongst their peers.

To read more, click here.

Source: CA Website (30 September 2021).

Intellectual Property


A guide to Singapore’s new copyright law

Singapore’s new Copyright Bill, which is likely to be enacted in November 2021, is expected to reshape the balance between creators and businesses in many ways. The bill contains several welcome provisions on copyright ownership, recognition of authors’ moral rights, computational analysis of data, - 2 - and piracy, say sources.

To read more, click here.

Source: Managing IP (9 September 2021).

The Growing Tensions Between Digital Media Platforms and Copyright Enforcement

Digital media or “new media” platforms that host user-generated videos such as YouTube or Vimeo, and livestreams such as Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming, are gaining a bigger role in the entertainment industry. As these platforms grow, the attention and level of scrutiny grows as well. One of the most prominent criticisms is that the platforms are failing to properly address copyright infringement on their websites.

To read more, click here.

Source: American Action Forum (16 September 2021).

Changes to Copyright Act don't mean you lose all rights to your wedding photos

Recently, several amendments were made to the Copyright Act in Singapore. One change in particular stood out to the public: Soon, creators of works like photographs, portraits, engravings, sound recordings and films will receive the copyright to their work by default, even if they were commissioned to do the work. With the new rules expected to kick in around November 2021, panic soon ensued within the online space, as many Singaporeans began fearing what the new changes meant, especially with regard to wedding photography.

To read more, click here.

Source: Mothership Singapore (24 September 2021).


(Our guide to trademark protection in Africa)

As Dior Abandons Saddle Bag Trademark Application in the U.S., a Look at the Role of Residual Goodwill

Dior has brought an end to its quest to nab a U.S. trademark registration for the design of its Saddle Bag … at least for now. On the heels of receiving an Office Action in March in which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) preliminarily refused to register “the three-dimensional product design of a bag with a curved and sloping base, and a single flap with curved contours covering the opening of the bag” as a trademark, counsel for Dior sought to abandon the application on September 9, and the USPTO signed off on the abandonment a day later, thereby, removing the application from the registration process.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Fashion Law (13 September 2021).

Red Bull in trademark dispute with English gin firm Bullards

A small gin-maker threatened with legal action by global energy drinks firm Red Bull over the use of the word 'bull' in its name says it will fight the case. Red Bull is opposing an application to register the mark Bullards before the UK Intellectual Property Office.

To read more, click here.

Source: BBC NEWS (19 September 2021).

The Coca-Cola Company Unveils New Global Brand Platform for Coca-Cola Trademark

Coca-Cola today unveiled a new global brand philosophy and platform called Real Magic, which invites everyone to celebrate the real magic of humanity. Real Magic marks the first new global brand platform for Coca-Cola since 2016 and is being launched alongside a refreshed visual identity for Coca-Cola, as well as a new perspective on the Coca-Cola logo - 3 - that will feature across Coca-Cola marketing. Inspired by its representation on Coca-Cola’s iconic packaging, the “Hug” logo lifts the curved Coca-Cola trademark on bottle and can labels to provide a visual signature that will embrace and frame moments of magic across Coca-Cola’s communications.

To read more, click here.

Source: Africa News (29 September 2021).


Potential grounds for revocation of a patent citing AI as an inventor

The South African patent office recently made global news for becoming the first patent office in the world to have granted patent for an invention that was created by artificial intelligence.

To read more, click here.

Source: Go Legal (9 September 2021).

AI cannot be the inventor of a patent, appeals court rules

Artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be the inventor of new patents, the UK Court of Appeal has ruled. The appeal court ruled against Stephen Thaler, creator of a system called Dabus, who took a case against the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) which refused patents to his AI.

To read more, click here.

Source: BBC NEWS (23 September 2021).

Africa trade boss describes patent rules as "oudated"

The head of the world's biggest free trade area, AfCTA, has described the global intellectual property rights system as "outdated" saying it is constraining Africa's industrialisation. "This pandemic has shown that the IP rights regime is outdated, particularly for Africa. Particularly for Africa... If we want to defeat these viruses, we have to re-look at all these questions of compulsory licensing. If we have an intellectual property rights regime that enables Africa to produce vaccines without being in violation of WTO (World Trade Organization) law, that's what we have to do", defended Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

To read more, click here.

Source: Africa News (30 September 2021).

Trade Secrets

Secrets on the Road: Protecting Trade Secrets of Highly Automated Vehicles Against Public Disclosure

Trade secrets are one of the primary mechanisms for highly automated vehicle ("HAV") technology providers to protect their hard-won intellectual property. But, new safety reporting requirements for HAV vehicle and equipment manufacturers and operators mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's ("NHTSA") Standing General Order 2021-01 (the "Order") create a potential avenue for IP loss in the industry.

To read more, click here.

Source: JD Supra (8 September 2021).

Tim Cook Announces Zero Tolerance for Apple Leakers – In a Leaked Memo

From leaks on products to internal employee matters, there’s little doubt that Apple is having a big problem with information trickling outside its company walls, and Tim Cook has made it clear that he’s not going to put up with it. In a memo that was, quite ironically, leaked to The Verge, the Apple CEO has set those who would betray the company directly in his sights, noting that Apple will “not tolerate disclosures of confidential information,” no matter what that information is.

To read more, click here.

Source: iDrop News (22 September 2021).

GE, Siemens Energy settle lawsuit over gas turbines

General Electric Co (GE.N) and Siemens Energy AG (ENR1n.DE) have settled a lawsuit in which GE accused the German company of stealing trade secrets related to gas turbines.

In a filing on Wednesday with a federal court in Richmond, Virginia, GE and Siemens said they had reached a binding settlement agreement. Terms were not disclosed. A federal judge dismissed GE's lawsuit in light of the settlement.

To read more, click here.

Source: Reuters (1 October 2021).

Technology, Media And Telecommunications

CA fails to stop Sh25m pornography penalty

The Communications Authority (CA) has lost a bid to block persons sharing and viewing pornographic material from being slapped with a Sh25 million fine or 25-year jail term. The communications regulator reckons that the legal changes on sharing pornographic material will violate the freedom of expression and right to privacy.

The proposal is contained in the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes (Amendment) Bill 2021 that seeks to increase the penalties against promoting pornography from Sh5 million to Sh25 million and increase the jail term from 10 years to 25.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (16 September 2021).

Covid helps youth unlock digital space opportunities

The Covid-19 pandemic has unlocked a myriad of opportunities in the digital space for young Kenyans who now depend on technology for their livelihoods, a new study has disclosed.

The survey found out that Kenyan youth are making ends meet through various digital money-generation opportunities provided by Facebook, Instagram, Google, Uber, Bolt, Sendy, Jumia and Kilimall in a period characterized by massive job losses in the country.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (23 September 2021).

Data privacy rights test in Rubis, Gulf buyout dispute

If you buy somebody’s computer and recover deleted data, do you own that information, and can you use it to make a claim against the seller?

A bitter dispute between Gulf Energy and Rubis Energy has broken out and is expected to answer that question as well as offer a guide to future cases regarding data privacy.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (24 September 2021).

Africell Says goodbye to Uganda

Uganda’s number three operator, Africell, is to leave the country after seven years. A statement by the company blames stiff competition – and it does seem that Africell hasn’t found it easy competing with the local units of MTN and Bharti Airtel.

UK-based Africell Group entered the Ugandan market in 2014 by acquiring Orange Uganda. It also has operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia and Sierra Leone, and is planning to launch operations in Angola by the end of this year.

To read more, click here.

Source: Developing Telecoms (8 September 2021).

Absa, Tigo & JUMO Join Forces to Expand FinTech in Tanzania

Mobile fintech platform services provider, JUMO has announced a new partnership with Absa Bank Tanzania and Tanzanian telecom firm Tigo to increase the availability of the existing short-term credit product Tigo Nivushe in the country.

The new tripartite agreement reached with Absa will pave the way for more funds to be disbursed through JUMO’s intelligent banking platform, from September 2021, says JUMO.

To read more, click here.

Source: IT News Africa (16 September 2021).

Second attempt to sell second license begins in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian government sold only one of two full-service operator licences on offer in May, citing a lower-than-expected price for the second one. Now it’s trying again.

The Ethiopian Communications Agency (ECA), Ethiopia's telecommunications regulator, has again invited a request for proposals for the second licence, which is due to be issued in January next year. Proposals must be delivered by 20 December.

To read more, click here.

Source: Developing Telecoms (29 September 2021).

Google sues India's antitrust watchdog over leaked report - It has a good case

When India's antitrust watchdog's, the Competition Commission of India's (CCI), probe report that prima facie found that Google was abusing its dominant position in Android to hurt local tech competitors, there were some raised eyebrows in the media circles.

The case and the probe against Google goes back to 2019, and is based on a complaint lodged by two Indian antitrust research associates in the CCI (Umar Javeed and Sukarma Thapar) and a law student (Aaqib Javeed).

To read more, click here.

Source: Tech Radar (24 September 2021).

South Korea Shelves ‘Fake News’ Bill Amid International Outcry

President Moon Jae-in and his Democratic Party in South Korea have spent months vowing to stamp out what they have called fake news in the media. But lawmakers had to postpone a vote on a new bill this week when they encountered a problem: no one can agree on exactly how to do it.

To read more, click here.

Source: The New York Times (1 October 2021).

As Bitcoin debuts in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala study CBDCs

Two Central American countries, Honduras and Guatemala, are taking a cue from their common neighbor’s adoption of Bitcoin (BTC), but they are taking a very different road – that of Central Bank Digital Currencies.

Central bank digital currencies have been gaining traction and interest in countries around the world. Nigeria’s CBDC, the eNaira, is set to launch on Oct. 1, on the country’s 61st Independence Day. The Ukrainian government is also moving forward with its CBDC plans by giving the National Bank of Ukraine authority to issue a digital currency.

To read more, click here.

Source: Coin Telegraph (9 September 2021).

Confusion reigns after China slams door on crypto

Moves by Chinese authorities to close regulatory loopholes around cryptocurrency trading and mining late last week essentially banned all such activities in China overnight. And many crypto holders are still scrambling to deal with the fallout.

The directive from the People’s Bank of China declared all virtual currency-related business activities illegal, cutting the country off from overseas crypto exchanges. That could potentially lead to punishment for investors who deal with exchanges abroad.

To read more, click here.

Source: Al Jazeera (30 September 2021).

Thank you for reading! We hope you found the digest informative.