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Kenya: Intellectual Property & Technology Digest February 2022

8 March 2022
– 11 Minute Read


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Snapshot of Our Practice

Our IP & Technology Practice, which includes a vibrant Telecommunications practice, has been busy advising on a rage of transactions in IP and technology over the past month and we have been briefed on several IP Disputes for a wide range of clients. Notably our work in the Fintech and payments space has been increasing and is now cross border. We have also advised on several franchising transactions. We continue to lead the front in advising on major telecommunication infrastructure projects across Africa covering fibre roll outs and data centres as well as regulatory and compliance work for leading telecom sector companies. We also continue to advise on data privacy, an area that is ever evolving in Kenya at the moment, following the gazettment of the Data Protection regulations (Regulations) by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. You can view our analysis of the Regulations [here]

Updates From Regulatory Bodies


The Industrial Property Journal for February 2022 is available on the KIPI website. You can find it here.


On 2 March 2022, The Kenya Copyright Board published an advisory to the effect that it is no longer sufficient to quote an image with the caption “courtesy” in an attempt to acknowledge authorship. You can read the full advisory here.


As reported by WIPO on 10 February 2022, innovative enterprises and individuals around the world overcame the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 to drive WIPO’s global intellectual property services for patents, trademarks and designs to record-setting levels. To read more, click here.


Intellectual Property Roving Seminar for Academic and Research Institutions was organized under the theme Fostering Creativity and Innovation for Economic Growth and Development in Africa by the ARIPO and the Registrar General of Lesotho in cooperation with the National University of Lesotho. It was held in Lesotho on 23 – 25 February 2022. To read more, click here.


The National Awareness Seminar on the Plant Variety Protection System opened on 14 February 2022 in Conakry, Guinea and for three (3) days researchers, experts, consultants, and public and private actors in the agricultural sector discussed the mechanisms for protecting and promoting plant varieties and their interest for agricultural development in Guinea. To read more, click here.

Developments in the Intellectual Property Arena


Nigeria Copyright Commission signs MoU

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has facilitated the emergence of an appropriate framework between the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and Disco Jockeys Association of Nigeria (DJAN) to ensure the collection of royalties for musicians and improve the business dealings of DJs.

The Chief Executive Officer of MCSN, Mr. Mayo Ayilaran, had this to say, “We are under pressure from hardcore musicians because of the current realities. This accounts for some of the tariffs being demanded from Deejays and we believe we can work out an agreement to strike a balance and ensure a win-win situation.”

To read more, click here.

Source: The Guardian

Court in Denmark raises penalty for Little Mermaid copyright violation

An appeals court in Denmark has increased the compensation a newspaper was ordered to pay for violating the copyright of Copenhagen’s The Little Mermaid statue with a cartoon depicting the bronze landmark as a zombie and a photo of it with a facemask.

The Berlingske newspaper published the cartoon in 2019 to illustrate an article about the debate culture in Denmark and used the photo in 2020 to represent a link between the far right and people fearing COVID-19.

To read more, click here.

Source: abc News.

Can A.I.-Generated Art Receive Copyright Protection? U.S. Authorities Say No, Citing a Lack of ‘Human Authorship

The U.S. Copyright Office has once again rejected a request for copyright protection on a work created by artificial intelligence, affirming an earlier decision that found the work “lacks the human authorship necessary to support a copyright claim.

The work in question, A Recent Entrance to Paradise, was put forth twice by Steven Thaler on behalf of the “Creativity Machine,” the stated “author” of the work. “We disagree with the Copyright Office’s decision and plan to appeal,” Thaler’s Los Angeles-based attorney Ryan Abbott told Artnet News.

To read more, click here

Source: ArtNet News.

Trade Marks

Monster Energy files NFT and metaverse trademark applications in the United States

According to recent filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Monster Energy has four pending trademark applications related to the nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse realms.

The first trademark application consists of downloadable virtual goods comprised of, but not limited to, beverages, food, supplements, sports, gaming, music, and apparel. The second filing consists of retail store and online retail store services authenticated by NFTs, as well as an “online marketplace for buyers and sellers of virtual goods.” Similarly, the third filing involves entertainment services related to such virtual apparel. Finally, the fourth filing consists of providing an online software to facilitate the transmission of digital assets among users powered by blockchain technology.

To read more, click here

Source: CoinTelegraph

 U.S. NFT Trademark Filings Soared 400X Since 2021

According to Finbold, over 1200 NFT trademark applications were filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), last year. Following the increase, the registration agency received about 15 filings per day, starting January 2022.

By trademarking an NFT, no one else can use the same or similar name or logo for their NFT, which keeps them distinctive.

To read more, click here

Source: FXEmpire


Global patent filings surged to record high in 2021: UN

A record number of international patents were filed last year, indicating that innovation had not been stymied by the pandemic, the United Nations reported in February 2022.

A record 277,500 international patents were filed in 2021, marking a 0.9-percent increase from 2020, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization said in its annual overview.

To read more, click here

Source: WioNews

A Covid vaccine breakthrough bypasses the stale debate on patent waivers

Researchers in South Africa, under the aegis of a World Health Organization tech-transfer hub, said they had worked out how to copy Moderna’s Covid vaccine. Though creating a mass-manufacture jab and replicating it in other developing countries will take time, it’s still an important breakthrough.

The development neither vindicates campaigners claiming a broad waiver of intellectual property rights is essential to inoculate the world, nor proves patents are a distraction and the multinational pharmaceutical companies have it all in hand.

To read more, click here

Source: Financial Times

Trade Secrets

China-Based Hytera Charged with Stealing Trade Secrets from Motorola Solutions

A U.S. indictment alleges a China-based telecommunications company conspired to steal digital mobile radio technology developed by Motorola Solutions Inc.

Prosecutors allege that from 2007 to 2020, the employees recruited by Hytera accessed trade secrets from Motorola’s internal database and sent emails that described their intention to use the technical knowledge gained there to help Hytera.

To read more, click here

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Technology, Media and Telecommunications


Parliament Invites Public Participation on Huduma Bill

The Huduma Bill was proposed back in 2019. it mostly proposes the issuance of the Huduma Namba to all Kenyans. Huduma Namba, which is based on the nationwide database named NIIMS, will also be tied to all government services, meaning a person cannot receive such services from the government without the Huduma Card.

There was a public hearing of the Huduma Bill on Wednesday 23 February 2022. The Bill is currently at the 1st reading and we expect that there will be further public participation at the committee stage.

To read more, click here

Source: Techweez

Kisumu to use drone technology to supply drugs

Kisumu County government has signed an agreement with global instant logistics leader, Zipline, to deliver blood products and medical supplies using drones.

The agreement will see Zipline invest KES 150 million to establish an operation and distribution hub in Kisumu to facilitate the exercise.

Kisumu will act as a pilot for the lake region before the partnership is scaled up to cover the other counties serving up to 1, 250 health facilities.

To read more, click here

Source: Kenya News Agency


South Africa’s regulator confirms six bidders for auction

South African regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) revealed it has accepted six bidders for its spectrum auction in March 2022. The bidders passed the pre-qualification stage of the licensing process and can now participate in the auction which is expected to take place on 8 March 2022.

ICASA chairperson Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng said having six strong bidders for its auction showcases the “robustness” of South Africa’s telecoms sector.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms

Zimbabwe regulator backs Telecel to remain in business

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) backed troubled operator Telecel to maintain its business after the company saw outages on its networks.

“We do not believe Telecel will collapse, their operating license is intact and they have enough subscribers and running services to sustain their operations.” – The vote of confidence comes after Telecel rebuffed rumours it was shutting down operations after customers experienced severe outages across the country, stemming from expired licenses which have now been paid for and renewed.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms

Jumia Ghana inks partnership with smart locker provider Locqar

Jumia, Ghana’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with LocQar, a smart locker company, to bring online deliveries closer to its consumers in Ghana.

LocQar will support Jumia by providing smart lockers at vantage points in Accra where Jumia customers can pick up their orders. The zero human contact also provides extra assurance to consumers on the low risk of contracting Covid-19.

To read more, click here

Source: IT News Africa

Seacom acquires Africell Uganda assets

Pan-African telecommunications service provider Seacom is acquiring selected infrastructure assets from Africell in Uganda. Africell was the third largest operator in Uganda, but shut down its operations in October 2021, stating that it was unable to compete with the country’s dominant duo MTN and Airtel.

Seacom has provided wholesale solutions to Uganda since its inception in 2009, and corporate solutions since 2018. It is active in Uganda’s financial services sector and works with government and non-governmental organizations, including those in the education, technology and hospitality sectors.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms


Cyber-attacks bring down many Ukraine websites

The week ending 25 February 2022, the websites of several Ukrainian banks and government departments became inaccessible. Some attributed this to Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks are designed to knock a website offline by flooding it with huge amounts of requests until it crashes.

Earlier on in the material week, the EU announced a cyber rapid-response team was being deployed across Europe, after a call for help from Ukraine. It is not known if the team of experts from six volunteer countries is helping to defend against this latest attack. DDoS attacks have been used in various campaigns as a part of Russia’s so-called “hybrid warfare” tactics, combining cyber-attacks with traditional military activity.

To read more, click here

Source: BBC News

Data Protection Law issued in Oman

Oman has become the latest country in the Middle East to issue national privacy legislation with the publication of a new Personal Data Protection Law. Royal Decree 6/2022 promulgating the Personal Data Protection Law was issued on 9 February 2022.

This article outlines the scope and key requirements of this new law and considers what it will mean for organizations operating in Oman.

To read more, click here

Source: Clyde & Co

Philippines approves full foreign ownership in telco

The Philippine government opened up its telecommunications and railway for full foreign ownership, ending its restrictions on overseas investments.

The country’s congress approved a bill that amends an 85-year-old law that limits foreign ownership of public services to 40%, the proposed law is now in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte to sign into law.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms

Cryptos, AI, Blockchain +

Intel launches Blockchain chip for Bitcoin mining and NFT minting

Intel Corp in February launched a new chip for blockchain applications such as Bitcoin mining and minting NFTs to cash in on the rising usage of cryptocurrencies.

As a part of furthering its footprint in the space, Intel has also formed a new segment called Custom Compute Group within its Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit.

To read more, click here

Source: Indian Express