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Kenya: IP Tech Digest

10 November 2021
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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 also acted for major companies on IP and IT related disputes touching on patents, trademarks copyright and software acquisition as well as advising on anti-counterfeit actions. We have also been instructed on a number of telecoms, technology and fintech projects for clients from around the world.

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

KIPI

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

KECOBO

No new updates in October.

ANTI COUNTERFEIT AUTHORITY

No new updates in October.

ARIPO

Accession of The Republic of Seychelles to the Harare Protocol

The Republic of Seychelles has acceded to the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs, becoming the 21st ARIPO Member State. The President of Seychelles, H.E. Wavel Ramkalawan, signed the instrument of accession to the Harare Protocol on 26th August 2021 which the ARIPO Director General received on 1st October 2021.

To read more, click here.

Source: ARIPO Webpage (5 October 2021).

OAPI

OAPI -ZLECAF: Better integrate intellectual property

The regional conference on intellectual property: challenges and perspectives in the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF), organized by OAPI opened on October 12, 2021 in Libreville. The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Hugues MBANDINGA MADIYA, Minister of Commerce, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Industry of Gabon, in the presence of Mr. Denis BOHOUSSOU, Director General of OAPI, the Gabonese authorities, agents approved by OAPI and international experts in intellectual property

To read more, click here.

Source: OAPI Webpage (12 October 2021).

International cooperation: high-level meeting on copyright and neighboring rights in Africa

Organized on October 28, 2021, virtually, by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in cooperation with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the objective of this meeting was to relaunch the Nairobi strategic plan adopted in 2019. It involved the Secretaries General of the Ministries in charge of copyright matters as well as the Directors General of collective management organizations for copyright and neighboring rights of 42 African countries, members of OAPI and ARIPO.

To read more, click here.

Source: OAPI Webpage (29 October 2021).

WIPO

WIPO Launches New “Young Experts Program”

The two-year program hosted at WIPO is designed to expose young people with high potential, particularly from developing and least developed countries as well as countries in transition, to the technical and policy aspects of IP. The program aims to gear them up for leadership positions within the innovation and creative ecosystems of their home countries and regions.

To read more, click here.

Source: WIPO Webpage (28 October 2021).

OFFICE OF THE DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONER

On 27 October 2021, the ODPC held a stakeholder validation workshop for its inaugural Strategic Plan. The vision of the Strategic Plan is “enhancing trust and building transparency of data protection in Kenya”. The Strategic Plan has been designed to take note of “ongoing technological and societal changes”. The event was attended by among others, the ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs CS, and the British High Commissioner.

The Draft Strategic Plan can be accessed here.

Source: The ODPC Webpage.

THE COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY OF KENYA

No new updates in October.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

COPYRIGHT

Obsessed With the ‘Bad Art Friend’ Case? We Are, too. Here’s How a Recent Art Copyright Decision Could Shape the Outcome

What do Prince and Andy Warhol have to do with a now-viral dispute between two writers over a Facebook post that inspired a short story about a kidney donation? A fair amount, it turns out.

A recent ruling by New York’s Second Circuit found that Warhol’s use of a photograph of Prince was a violation of copyright law. That decision could have sweeping ramifications for fair use—in the realm of literature as well as fine art.

To read more, click here.

Source: ArtNet (7 October 2021).

TikTok Removed 81 Million Videos in Q2 2021 — But Fewer Than 0.5% Were Copyright-Related

Between April 1st and June 30th, TikTok removed approximately 81,518,334 videos in violation of the company’s community guidelines or terms of service. TikTok says that number represents less than 1% of the total videos posted. That means more than 8.1 billion videos were posted to TikTok in that three-month time period. TikTok averages around 90 million videos uploaded each day at that rate.

In that mix, it looks like copyright-related concerns aren’t topping the list — not by a long shot. That either indicates that copyright infringement isn’t a big problem on the platform, or that TikTok simply isn’t cracking down on IP-related infractions.

To read more, click here.

Source: Digital Music News (14 October 2021).

TRADEMARK

(Our guide to trademark protection in Africa)

Yanzhong Beverage cuts IP financing deal over trademark

A Shanghai-based beverage company has recently pledged its trademark “Yanzhong” for a loan of about 50 million yuan (US$7.74 million), the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration said.

The value of the trademark is estimated to be worth nearly 1 billion yuan, and it is the first time that a company mortgaged its intellectual property rights for such a large amount of money.

To read more, click here.

Source: Shine Law (1 October 2021).

Nigeria central bank wins court battle over ‘eNaira’ trademark infringement claims

A Nigerian federal court has given the country’s central bank the nod to go ahead with its plans to launch its digital currency. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been sued by a local fintech firm for trademark infringement over the use of ‘eNaira,’ but the court has sided with the bank.

To read more, click here.

Source: CoinGeek (6 October 2021).

Ruling of the Polish Supreme Court on the Audi logo: The five-year limitation period runs from each day of the infringement

On the 18th of May 2021 the Polish Supreme Court ruled on a very ambiguous issue concerning the calculation of the limitation period for non-pecuniary claims in trademark matters. The Court ruled that if the infringement of an EU trademark is repetitive and it continues at the time of raising a non-pecuniary claim (including a claim for prohibition of the infringement), the five-year limitation period runs from each day on which the infringement occurs.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Trademark Lawyer (14 October 2021).

PATENT

 Valqari Secures Position as Drone Delivery Industry Leader with New U.S. Patent

28th granted patent establishes Valqari’s broad coverage in the competitive drone mailbox category.

Valqari, the creator of the patented Drone Delivery Station and provider of last inch mailbox solutions for drone deliveries, has been awarded its latest patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). With a priority date of January 2, 2014, the patent (patent no. 11,117,680) covers a broad range of claims in the field of drone delivery and Valqari’s delivery infrastructure, from general UAV delivery to protecting users’ packages from theft, weather, and other nuisances.

To read more, click here.

Source: SUAS News (7 October 2021).

Nippon Steel Sues Japan Business Partner Toyota Over Patent

Nippon Steel Corp. is suing Toyota Motor Corp. over a patent for a technology used in electric motors in a rare case of legal wrangling between Japan’s top steelmaker and top automaker over intellectual property.

Tokyo-based Nippon Steel filed the lawsuit in Tokyo District Court, demanding compensation for damages totaling 20 billion yen ($177 million). Also named in the lawsuit is Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., or Baosteel, a Chinese steelmaker that produces and supplies the steel that allegedly violates the patent.

To read more, click here.

Source: US NEWS (15 October 2021).

Royalty Pharma v Boehringer: The UK’s Patents Court takes on the German law of licence negotiations and EPC 2000 purpose-limited product claims

The UK’s Patents Court has recently handed down judgment in Royalty Pharma Collection Trust v Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH. Points on patent licensing and substantive patent law feature extensively.

To read more, click here.

Source: Cambridge Wireless (15 October 2021).

TRADE SECRETS

Tesla claims Rivian is stealing ‘trade secrets’ about its ‘next-gen battery’ in expanding lawsuit

Tesla, which is already suing Rivian and former employees hired by the electric pickup truck startup, is expanding its lawsuit against the company. It now claims that Rivian is stealing its “trade secrets” about battery technology.

To read more, click here.

Source: Electrek (4 October 2021).

Fish & Richardson Secures Rare Win in ITC Trade Secrets Case

Fish & Richardson has helped three China-based manufacturers and sellers of commercial catering equipment secure a rare victory in an International Trade Commission investigation brought against them. On October 14, 2021, the ITC voted to affirm that no violation of Section 337 occurred and to terminate the investigation.

The ITC held that the complainants had failed to show substantial injury to a domestic industry.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Wire (21 October 2021).

ITW fails to block Chinese suppliers in ‘trade secrets’ case

ITW has lost a 2-year case against three Chinese catering equipment manufacturers it accused of misappropriating trade secrets and interfering with contractual relationships.

Guangzhou Rebenet Catering Equipment Manufacturing, Guangzhou Liangsheng Trading Co and Aceplus International became the subject of an investigation by the International Trade Commission following claims made by ITW and its manufacturing subsidiary in China.

To read more, click here.

Source: Catering Insight (27 October 2021).

 

TECHNOLOGY, MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Kenya

US tech giants to profit from Kenya data in trade deal

US tech giants are likely to increasingly mine and monetize data from Kenya if the proposed trade deal between Nairobi and Washington is successfully concluded, a United Nations agency has suggested. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says the proposed free trade agreement between the two countries includes digital economy as one of the key issues for negotiations.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (4 October 2021).

Courts declare Huduma Namba invalid

The High Court has declared Huduma Namba invalid after ruling that the law wasn’t followed in its roll-out. Justice Jairus Ngaah ruled on Thursday, October 14, that the Government failed to conduct data impact assessment before rolling out the cards in November last year, contravening the Constitution in the process.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Standard (14 October 2021).

Draft rules could derail ride hailing, boda boda

Although largely progressive, the proposed Digital-Hailing Regulations, currently before Senate’s Standing Committee on ICT, have some provisions that could potentially hinder the growth of the ride-hailing industry. For instance, the introduction of a clause to cap commissions to 15 percent for ride-hailing companies.

This proposal is arbitrary and goes against the free-market principles that Kenya is known for. Moreover, the proposal is unprecedented and not done anywhere else in the world.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (21 October 2021).

Africa

Google to invest Sh110bn in Africa digital economy

Global search giant Google will invest Sh110 billion in Africa’s innovation journey over the next five years, chief executive Sundar Pichai has announced. During this year’s Google4Africa event held Wednesday, 6 October 2021 virtually, Mr. Pichai said the funds would be utilized to make technology accessible to more users on the continent.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (7 October 2021).

SEACOM selects NETSCOUT to offer managed DDOS services to customers in Kenya and South Africa

NETSCOUT SYSTEMS, INC. (Netscout.com), (NASDAQ: NTCT), a leading provider of security, service assurance, and business analytics, and Africa’s leading broadband internet provider SEACOM (SEACOM.co.za), has announced a strategic alliance to provide managed Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) and security services to Enterprise customers throughout Kenya and South Africa, as well as to Wholesale customers utilizing SEACOM’s subsea and terrestrial networks.

To read more, click here.

Source: Africa News (5 October 2021).

Orange and Liquid announce African network access partnership

Technology group Liquid Intelligent Technologies and telecommunications carrier Orange have announced a new partnership to leverage each other’s existing networks in Africa, allowing them, as they put it, even greater access and opportunity to build their businesses throughout the continent.

This partnership will give Liquid access to Orange’s extensive network in West Africa, including the new Djoliba network. Launched in late 2020, Djoliba is described as the first pan-West African fibre backbone. It connects the capitals of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, all of which are natively interconnected with their country’s domestic networks. This will, Orange says, centralise connectivity access for operators and companies.

To read more, click here.

Source: Developing Telecoms (28 October 2021).

Global

DeepMind faces legal action over NHS data use

A legal case has been launched on behalf of more than a million people whose confidential medical records were obtained by Google. In 2015, Google’s AI firm DeepMind was given the personal records of 1.6 million patients at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

The law firm handling the case said it was launched to address public concerns about the use of private health data by tech firms.

To read more, click here.

Source: BBC News (2 October 2021).

Doctor is set for possible £100,000 pay-out after judge’s landmark ruling that her neighbor’s Ring doorbell cameras breached her privacy

A doctor could be paid more than £100,000 by her neighbor after a judge ruled that his Ring smart doorbell cameras breached her privacy in a landmark legal battle which could pave the way for thousands of lawsuits over use of the Amazon-owned device.

The ruling is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK and could set precedent for more than 100,000 owners of the Ring doorbell nationally.

To read more, click here.

Source: Daily Mail (12 October 2021).

Hacker steals government ID database for Argentina’s entire population

A hacker has breached the Argentinian government’s IT network and stolen ID card details for the country’s entire population, data that is now being sold in private circles. The hack, which took place in September, targeted RENAPER, which stands for Registro Nacional de las Personas, translated as National Registry of Persons.

The agency is a crucial cog inside the Argentinian Interior Ministry, where it is tasked with issuing national ID cards to all citizens, data that it also stores in digital format as a database accessible to other government agencies, acting as a backbone for most government queries for citizen’s personal information.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Record (18 October 2021).

Australia stresses the social media platforms to pursue parental consent for minors

Australia mandates social networking companies to strive a parental approval for minor users less than the age of 16 years, otherwise, pay forfeits in millions, by a draft law published on Monday. According to a press release, the ordinance has been designed which will safeguard Australians on Internet, assuring that the country’s privacy rules are pertinent in the digital era.

The country has decided to crack down on online advertisers, targeting kids by making social media fora to yearn parental consent for users.

To read more, click here.

Source: Digital Information World (27 October 2021).

Cryptos, AI, blockchain +

Local Experts Say Zimbabwe Not Softening Its Stance on Cryptocurrency Just Yet

Zimbabwean crypto and economic experts have suggested Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s positive comments about cryptocurrencies do not necessarily mean monetary authorities are about to remove restrictions that were imposed in 2018.

Instead, the experts claim the remarks show that the government is only interested in aspects of blockchain technology that are beneficial to it. They insist, however, that because the Zimbabwean government — just like its peers in Africa — will not countenance ceding monetary control to anyone, it will not lift restrictions on cryptocurrency trading.

To read more, click here.

Source: Bitcoin.com (7 October 2021).

How CIOs are prioritizing AI investments for the next 5 years

While the pandemic is still raging, the chaos of the past 18 months has calmed a bit, and the dust is starting to settle. Now the time has come for healthcare CIOs and other health IT leaders to look forward and plan their IT investments – shaped, in no small part, by the lessons of the recent past.

According to new research from HIMSS Media, the average overall 2021 IT budget is nearly $13 million, with 15% on average being allocated to IT security. While that may be a lot of money, there are many technological areas yearning for more investment.

To read more, click here.

Source: Healthcare IT News (18 October 2021).