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Kenya: IP & Technology Digest January 2022

26 January 2022
– 13 Minute Read


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Snapshot of Our Practice

Our IP & Technology Practice, which includes vibrant data protection and fintech practices, 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.

Key Highlights

The Data Protection (General) Regulations, 2021, The Data Protection (Complaints Handling and Enforcement Procedures) Regulations 2021 and The Data Protection (Registration of Data Controllers and Data Processors) Regulations, 2021 (collectively the Regulations) were listed in the Kenya Gazette issue of 14 January 2022.

The Regulations will now be tabled before Parliament for scrutiny by the Committee on Delegated Legislation and will come into force within the next 28 days provided the National Assembly does not object to the contents of any of the regulations.

Updates from Regulatory Bodies


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


No new updates.


No new updates.


Eighteenth Session of the Council of Ministers of ARIPO held

The Eighteenth Session of the Council of Ministers of ARIPO was held in Victoria Falls, Republic of Zimbabwe, from 9 to 10 December 2021 where the Council of Ministers elected new members to serve as Officers for the 2022/2023 biennium. They also considered and took note of the Report of the Director General on the activities undertaken in 2020 and 2021 under the Value and Growth Transformation Strategic Plan 2016-2020 that was extended for one year; and the Report of the Chairman of the Administrative Council which were presented by the Secretariat.

To read more, click here.

Source: ARIPO Webpage (10 December 2021).

2022 editions of the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs and the Banjul Protocol on Marks

The 2022 editions of the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs and the Banjul Protocol on Marks are now available:

Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs (2022 Edition)

Banjul Protocol on Marks (2022 Edition)

Source: ARIPO Webpage.


WIPO Launches New Global Awards Program; Small and Medium Enterprises Are First Category

WIPO launched a new global awards program to recognize exceptional enterprises and individuals using intellectual property (IP) to make a positive impact at home and beyond their own borders. The first WIPO Global Awards will be granted in July 2022.

 To read more, click here.

Source: WIPO Webpage (15 December 2021).


No new updates in January.


The Communications Authority of Kenya will revoke FM Frequencies, Cancel Broadcast License Offers and Applications of 128 Non-compliant Broadcasters.

The revocations by the Communications Authority of Kenya targets various categories of broadcasters and applicants under the current market structure, who, despite several reminders, have failed to meet the requirements of the Act and associated regulations.

To read more, click here.

Source: CAK Webpage (22 December 2021).

Intellectual Property


China Bans Most Exclusive Copyright Deals for Digital Music Platforms

China’s copyright authority said that digital music platforms are not allowed to sign exclusive copyright agreements except in special circumstances, amid a regulatory crackdown on monopolistic behavior in the country’s private sector. The order comes amid a widening crackdown by Chinese regulators on the country’s technology sector, which has focused on issues such as monopolistic behavior, unfair competition and consumer rights.

To read more, click here

Source: US News (06 January 2022).

Concern over proposed Law that will affect Kenyan content creators

The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021, currently in the public participation stage, has sparked concerns among drivers of Kenya’s creative industry.

According to the lobby group, Partners Against Piracy (PAP) forum, removing Sections 35B, 35C and 35D will make it harder for creatives to uphold their rights when dealing with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

To read more, click here.

Source: Pulse Live (13 January 2022).

Big Tech back on the hook in French copyright spat

After a détente of sorts before the holiday break, tensions have risen again between U.S. tech giants and the press industry over payment for news.  French magazines have launched a fresh offensive against Google to get them to sign licensing deals — and the French president has their back.

France is the first country to have implemented the EU’s copyright reform, which grants press publishers a right to ask for payment when their content is displayed on online platforms — making it both a laboratory and a trend-setter for the rest of the bloc.

To read more, click here

Source: POLITICO (16 January 2022)


(Our guide to trademark protection in Africa)

Apple renews ‘Mammoth’ trademark, hinting at potential name for macOS 13

Apple was recently granted a trademark extension for the name “Mammoth” in the computer operating system category, hinting at a possible name for this year’s release of macOS.

Apple’s “Mammoth” trademark is owned by the shell corporation Yosemite Research LLC. Yosemite Research LLC has previously collected and held onto Apple trademarks for macOS, including the name “Yosemite” for macOS 10.10. The shell company tends to transfer the trademark over to Apple Inc. once the company officially announces the name.

To read more, click here

Source: 9TO5Mac (09 December 2021).

When Can a Trademark Owner Take Action for Unauthorized Use of its Trademark Online?

Unauthorized use of a trademark on the Internet occurs often and, in many forms, usually involving the profiting, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from the goodwill associated with a trademark belonging to someone else. How then can a trademark owner take action?

To read more, click here

Source: National Law Review (04 January 2022).

Turkey: Turkish Patent And Trademark Office Updates The Guidelines Relating To Trademark Examination

On 18 August 2021, TPTO published and updated guidelines pertaining to examination of trademark applications laying down principles/standards to be followed for assessment of confusing similarity between rival marks including evaluation of the likelihood of confusion as per Article 6(1) of IP code.

It is expected that these guidelines will improve the quality of decisions taken by TPTO in conformity with the principles of examination of confusing similarities elaborated in the guidelines.

To read more, click here

Source: Mondaq (18 January 2022)


USPTO To Propose Paperless Patents

The USPTO has announced plans to issue proposed rule changes relating to the format in which U.S. patents are issued, making electronic patents the norm, with something akin to today’s ribboned copies available upon request (and for a nominal fee). What took so long? As with many government agency practices, it turns out there’s a statute that had to be reckoned with before the USPTO could go paperless.

To read more, click here.

Source: Mondaq (15 December 2021).

Could AI-Generated Inventions Soon be Patented in the UK

A recent UK Court of Appeal case has sparked debate as to whether the creations of artificial intelligence should be eligible for patents. In addition to that, the UK has recently announced its National AI Strategy and aims to become a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence. Concurrently, the government has launched an official consultation into whether AI can be listed as an inventor on patents, meaning it may not be long until the UK recognises AI as being capable of creating intellectual property.

To read more, click here

Source: Business News Wales (06 January 2022).

Ericsson sues Apple, alleging 5G patent infringement

Ericsson and Apple are back in court in Texas, months after firing a volley of lawsuits against each other in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

In new filings on Monday, Ericsson alleged that Apple is in violation of essential patents for 5G. Ericsson cited a total of twelve patents between the two. In a previous statement provided to the press, Ericsson said that Apple using its technology without a license, following the expiration of a 2015 settlement.

To read more, click here

Source: RCR Wireless (18 January 2022)

Trade Secrets

Drut Technologies Sues Microsoft Over Cloud-Based Server Trade Secret Misappropriation

A lawsuit filed in Seattle, Washington says that Microsoft Corporation misappropriated plaintiff Drut Technologies’ valuable and unique software and hardware after allegedly conning them into a partnership while ultimately seeking to obtain broad intellectual property rights for nominal fees.

The technology at issue concerns a set of computer algorithms and a configuration of software and hardware components Drut designed to reduce inefficiencies in cloud-based servers, the complaint says.

To read more, click here.

Source: Law Street News (14 December 2021).

Fisherman Beats Theft-of-Trade-Secrets Conviction Involving Hack

A tech savvy grouper fisherman from Mobile, Timothy Smith Ala., saw his theft-of-trade-secrets conviction temporarily vacated when the Eleventh Circuit said venue wasn’t proper in the federal district court in which he was tried.

Smith said the venue where he was tried, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, was improper. Although StrikeLines’ (the business he stole from) office is in Pensacola, Fla., which is in that district, its servers are in Orlando, Fla., which is in the Middle District of Florida.

To read more, click here

Source: Bloomberg Law (12 January 2022) Virtual Footwear?

Technology, Media And Telecommunications


New termination rates suspended pending Safaricom appeal

Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom petitioned the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal to block the introduction of new mobile termination rates (MTRs). Last month the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) announced that the fixed and mobile rates would be cut from KES0.99 (USD0.008) to KES0.12 per minute, effective 1 January 2022.

Following Safaricom’s application, the tribunal suspended the CA’s decision on the cuts until the appeal is heard on 2 February.

To read more, click here

Source: Comms Update (07 January 2022)

Airtel Africa to Spin off Airtel Money by the End of the Year

Mobile money is king in Africa and its impressive growth is making telcos in the continent consider running their mobile money services independent of their parent companies.

Airtel has already begun this spin-off process. Airtel Money will soon be run as a separate entity from Airtel Africa.

To read more, click here

Source: Techweez (07 January 2022)

KRA deploys new technology to nab landlords

The taxman has stepped up the onslaught on tax-evading landlords through the latest mapping technology, in addition to accessing bank records on rental income and utility transactions with utilities such as Kenya Power.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is implementing a block management system that will use geographic information system (GIS) to map outbuildings in various residences, a top official said.

The system will classify various estates into blocks of flats where the KRA will identify landlords who are tax-compliant and those not in its tax net and detect new buildings springing up.

To read more, click here

Source: Business Daily (12 January 2022)


Egypt boosts telecom efficiency in the Sinai Peninsula

Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is financing the construction and operation of mobile phone towers for 30 urban areas and four vital roads of up to 112 km at a total cost of EGP 513 million (US$ 32.6 million), provided that the services operate by the end of June 2022.

This is part of a continuing programme by the Egyptian government to improve people’s access to telecom services, with an emphasis was placed on rural areas and roads.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms (10 December 2021).

Nigeria lifts its ban on Twitter after 7 months

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari directed that Twitter’s operations resume on Thursday last week, according to the director-general of the country’s National Information Technology Development Agency.

Nigeria had suspended Twitter’s operation on June 4, citing “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.” The action triggered criticisms as it came shortly after the social media network deleted a post by Buhari in which he threatened to treat separatists “in the language they will understand.”

To read more, click here

Source: AP News (13 January 2022)

Airtel Uganda holds discussion on timing of IPO

Airtel Uganda, the mobile communications and information technology services provider in the East African country, has said that ‘discussions are going on internally’ concerning the listing of a 20% stake in the company via an initial public offering (IPO).

Airtel is expected to sell at least 20 percent of its shares through an Initial Public Offer to fulfill a requirement under the National Broadband Policy.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms (19 January 2022)


Australia and US sign Cloud Act deal to help law enforcement agencies demand data from tech giants

Australia and the US have signed a deal to speed up information sharing about criminal suspects between law enforcement agencies and tech companies, including social media giants. The deal under the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (Cloud) Act will allow Australian and US law enforcement agencies to use existing warrants to demand information from overseas-based companies to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute serious crime.

To read more, click here

Source: The Guardian (16 December 2021).

China Mobile, ZTE rolls out the world’s first 5G messaging app

ZTE Corporation together with the Sichuan Branch of China Mobile and Dahantricom Corporation has officially rolled out “Panda’s Coming”, the 5G Messaging application.

5G Messaging, based on mobile phone numbers, does not need to be downloaded or registered by users, which brings new man-machine interaction modes.

To read more, click here

Source: Developing Telecoms (23 December 2021).

Google, Facebook face big privacy fines in France

French data regulator the CNIL is set to fine Google €150 million and Facebook €60 million for violating EU privacy rules.

According to a document seen by POLITICO, the CNIL will fine Google’s United States and Irish operations €90 million and €60 million respectively, and Facebook’s Irish arm €60 million for failing to allow French users to easily reject cookie tracking technology.

To read more, click here

Source: POLITICO (05 January 2022)

Cryptos, AI, blockchain +

WhatsApp launches cryptocurrency payments pilot in the US

WhatsApp has launched a new pilot that lets a “limited number” of people in the US send and receive money from within a chat using cryptocurrency. The feature is powered by Novi, Meta’s digital wallet that launched as a pilot last October, with payments made using Pax Dollars (USDP), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar issued by Paxos.

The whole system was designed to offer a way to send money around the world with lower fees than traditional methods.

To read more, click here

Source: The Verge (09 December 2021).

Cryptocurrency to be regulated in South Africa by the end of 2022: Luno

Crypto regulation is imminent in South Africa with formal guidelines expected to be introduced before the end of the year, say experts at South Africa’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Luno.

In anticipation of local regulations, several asset managers are working behind the scenes to craft crypto products and solutions.

To read more, click here

Source: Business Tech (17 January 2022)

System recognizes hand gestures to expand computer input on a keyboard

Researchers are developing a new technology that uses hand gestures to carry out commands on computers.

The prototype, called “Typealike,” works through a regular laptop webcam with a simple affixed mirror. The program recognizes the user’s hands beside or near the keyboard and prompts operations based on different hand positions.

To read more, click here

Source: Science Daily (05 January 2022)