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Kenya: IP & Technology Digest November 2021

8 December 2021
– 14 Minute Read


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

Updates From Regulatory Bodies


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


Request for Comments on Proposed Changes to the Copyright Act

KECOBO has issued a Public Notice inviting comments from the public on the changes proposed to the Copyright Act.

To read more, click here.

Source: KECOBO Webpage (16 November 2021).


No new updates in November.


Geographical Indications Conference for ARIPO Member States

A Regional Conference on Geographical Indications for ARIPO Countries was held from the 10th to 12th November 2021 at the ARIPO Secretariat in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The hybrid Conference was organized by ARIPO in collaboration with the Africa Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation Project (AfrIPI) – a European Union (EU) funded project implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

To read more, click here.

Source: ARIPO Webpage (5 November 2021).


Geographical indications: Cameroon’s red cocoa on the way to labeling

The Acting Director General of OAPI, Mr. Jean-Baptiste WAGO, on Wednesday November 3, 2021, received the members of the Monitoring Group for the process of recognizing Cameroon’s red cocoa.

This hearing follows the official establishment of the Monitoring Groups for new pilot products in priority countries and is part of the Support Project for the Establishment of Geographical Indications (PAMPIG) in the Member States of the ‘OAPI.

To read more, click here.

Source: OAPI Webpage (3 November 2021).

OAPI and the Japanese Patent Office are on the same wavelength

OAPI and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) held a bilateral meeting by videoconference on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

The agenda included, among other things, cooperation through the Japanese Global Fund for Industrial Property Assistance in Africa, capacity building and substantive examination of patents at OAPI.

To read more, click here.

Source: OAPI Webpage (10 November 2021).


No new updates in November.


No new updates in November.


No new updates in November.

Intellectual Property


Spain adopts EU copyright law, paving the way for Google News to return

Spain has adopted a European Union copyright directive that allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers, the government said on Tuesday, setting the stage for Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google News to return to the country.

Google News, which links to third-party content, closed in Spain in late 2014 in response to legislation that forced it to pay a collective licensing fee to republish headlines or snippets of news.

To read more, click here.

Source: Reuters (2 November 2021).

EU copyright directive was signed into Irish law, boosting the rights of content creators

The Irish government has signed the EU’s Copyright Directive into Irish law, paving the way for platforms such as Facebook and Google to share revenue with publishers.

The new law is designed to strengthen the rights and protections afforded to a range of copyright holders, including journalists and authors, when their work is shared online.

To read more, click here.

Source: Journal Media Limited (19 November 2021).

Hong Kong to revive Bill bolstering copyright law as minister warns satire, parodies must toe national security line

Hong Kong is resurrecting a Bill expanding intellectual property protections that opposition lawmakers have blocked twice before, with officials saying it is high time for the city to catch up with the rest of the world in updating its copyright regime.

The government recently launched a three-month public consultation on the proposal to update the Copyright Ordinance, which is expected to be submitted to a newly elected Legislative Council in 2022.

To read more, click here.

Source: South China Morning Post (24 November 2021).


(See our guide to trademark protection in Africa)

Nike is quietly preparing for the metaverse

The apparel giant has taken its first steps into the metaverse. The Oregon-based company has filed several new trademarks recently that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual Nike-branded sneakers and apparel.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Nike filed applications on Oct. 27 for “Nike,” the brand’s famous slogan “Just Do It,” and its swoosh logo. The following day, two more applications, for the “Air Jordan” and “Jumpman” logos, were filed. In total, seven different applications have been submitted.

To read more, click here.

Source: CNBC (2 November 2021).

Bayer, Belmora Case at SCOTUS Could Define Trademark Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court should review a Fourth Circuit decision impacting international “territorial” trademarks, Lutzker & Lutzker LLP attorneys argue. If left to stand, companies could face higher trademark search costs, consumers could see fewer choices in the marketplace, and underserved communities reliant on bilingual packaging could face product barriers, they contend.

To read more, click here.

Source: Bloomberg Law (10 November 2021).

International Trademark Association Will Head to Washington, D.C. for the 2022 Annual Meeting

The International Trademark Association (INTA) has announced that it will be holding its 2022 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., April 30 to May 4—returning to an in-person format for the first time in more than two years. Unlike past in-person annual meetings, the 2022 event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will also include robust virtual components.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Trademark Lawyer (19 November 2021).


SPCs: Paris court confirms its interpretation of the CJEU ‘Royalty Pharma’ test

The Paris Court of Appeal has rejected a patent holder’s interpretation of EU case law that concerns criteria for obtaining supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) for innovations in medicine.

In doing so, it has confirmed the position it took earlier this year in relation to SPC applications for products that are not expressly disclosed in the patent that serves as a basis for the SPC.

To read more, click here.

Source: Pinsent Masons (4 November 2021).

Government Legal Battle Looms Over Who Should Take Credit for the Moderna Vaccine

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is doubling down on its right to be credited on some of Moderna’s key Covid-19 vaccine patents, according to Reuters, setting the stage for a legal battle with the biotech firm that could determine the shot’s future price and availability.

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters on Wednesday that U.S. funded scientists played a role in developing Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine and deserve to be recognized for their work, adding that the agency is prepared to defend its claim if needed.

To read more, click here.

Source: Forbes (11 November 2021).

Will NFTs Revolutionize Patent Law?

NFTs continue to make waves, even as there is much speculation about their long-term future. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, present novel challenges and opportunities for intellectual property holders. This article explains how NFTs have been creating new challenges and opportunities, specifically in the patent space.

To read more, click here.

Source: Market Screener (11 November 2021).

Trade Secrets

N.C. restaurant owner wins verdict after recipes are stolen

Three former employees of Eternal Sunshine Café have been found liable for actions that include misappropriation of trade secrets, according to a news release from Wilmington-based litigation firm Reiss & Nutt, PLLC.

Attorney W. Cory Reiss said on the day that owner Michael Pellegrino announced the closing of the Leland location at 117 Village Road N.E. in May, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three employees deleted recipes for 70 dishes from the restaurant’s password protected data.

“It’s a bit unusual in terms of a restaurant and a small business, but misappropriation of trade secrets is a common issue,” he said. “From the food standpoint, it was important for us to show that the recipes were valuable and were protectable.”

To read more, click here.

Source: Rockingham Now (2 November 2021).

U.S. warns against IP, trade secret risks in draft EU tech rules – paper

Draft landmark EU rules requiring U.S. tech giants to share information with rivals could put at risk companies’ intellectual property and trade secrets, the United States government warned in a document seen by Reuters.

The paper said requiring gatekeepers – companies that control data and access to their platforms – to change their business practices and the design of their software may have implications for security and consumer protection.

To read more, click here.

Source: United States News (10 November 2021).

How to protect trade secrets in a  remote working world

The protection of trade secrets has always been vital to maintaining a successful business, particularly as companies innovate and use technology in creative ways to obtain a competitive edge in manufacturing and delivering goods and services.

At no time has the threat to trade secrets been greater, with the majority of a business’s information being accessible in a digital format that can be stolen in a data breach or via an employee’s USB drive.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Press Enterprise (12 November 2021).

Technology, Media and Telecommunications


Kenya Unveils National Computer and Cybercrimes Co-Ordination Committee to Fight Cybercrime

Kenya has officially launched the National Computer and Cyber Crimes Co-ordination Committee (NCCCC) as part of its wider efforts to combat the rising cybercrime threats across the globe.

Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday, 4 November 2021, during the launch of the secretariat, Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi said the committee, which comprises representatives from security agencies, the Central Bank of Kenya, the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) among others, will play key roles in ensuring the country’s safety in the ever-evolving cyber world.

To read more, click here.

Source: Capital FM (4 November 2021).

Dimension Data eyes SMEs with cybersecurity service hub

IT firm Dimension Data is eyeing a bigger share of the cybersecurity services market following the increase in threats as companies shifted their operations online. The firm says it has developed an intelligence hub dubbed the Dimension Data Threat Intelligence Centre, through which it will establish a central point for cyber security threats control.

It cited an internal survey that found that 58 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), experience some form of cyber-attack, with 81 percent of these having had to draw new security strategies and discard the old.

To read more, click here.

Source: Business Daily (11 November 2021).

Safaricom makes formal move to get Ethiopia M-Pesa License

Safaricom has formally made inquiries about the possibility of launching M-Pesa services in Ethiopia and the additional licence fee that will be required to achieve this.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Standard (19 November 2021).


Will it be seventh time lucky for Nigeria’s NIN-SIM registration drive?

As many commentators inside and outside Nigeria expected, the country’s federal government has approved the extension of the deadline for national identity number (NIN)-subscriber identity module (SIM) data verification to the end of this year.

The statement confirming this was made recently by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), just in time for the previous deadline of 31 October to pass. The October deadline was itself the result of an extension that began at the end of July 2021.

To read more, click here.

Source: Developing Telecoms (1 November 2021).

Tiny South African technology start-up gets a big Silicon Valley leg-up

South African tech start-up Consumption Information Real Time (Cirt) has been selected to join the latest accelerator programme run by GSD Venture Studios in Silicon Valley.

Cirt, a tiny seven-person company that is just three years old, has already attracted the attention of giants such as Microsoft and boasts clients such as AB-InBev, the multinational drink and brewing company. The company was founded by Johannesburg friends, Ajay Lalu and Sanjay Soni, both CAs by training and entrepreneurs at heart.

To read more, click here.

Source: Daily Maverick (10 November 2021).

Nigerian regulator hints at big plans for 2022

The Nigerian regulator has announced what it calls ‘strategic plans’ to boost the country’s telecommunications sector in the coming year.

In fact, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has unveiled two key documents that aim to strengthen the telecommunications sector and enhance the nation’s drive to boost its digital economy in 2022. This development was apparently the result of a three-day 2021 Board and Management Retreat organized by the commission in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

To read more, click here.

Source: Developing Telecoms (16 November 2021).


Apple Software Chief Uses EU Conference to Rally Against New Law

Apple Inc.’s top software executive rallied against Europe’s proposed Digital Markets Act, saying requirements in the law would undermine the iPhone’s security and create a malware “gold rush.”

The proposed legislation, under consideration by EU lawmakers, includes provisions that would require companies such as Apple to allow third-party app stores on their devices. “European policy makers have often been ahead of the curve but requiring sideloading on iPhone would be a step backward,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon.

To read more, click here.

Source: Yahoo Finance (3 November 2021).

Biden signs legislation to tighten U.S. restrictions on Huawei, ZTE

U.S. President Joe Biden has signed legislation to prevent companies like Huawei Technologies Co or ZTE Corp that are deemed security threats from receiving new equipment licenses from U.S. regulators. The Secure Equipment Act, the latest effort by the U.S. government to crack down on Chinese telecom and tech companies, was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 28 and earlier in the month by the U.S. House on a 420-4 vote.

The signing comes days before Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual summit. Reuters reported the meeting is expected Monday, amid tensions over trade, human rights and military activities.

To read more, click here.

Source: Reuters (12 November 2021).

Indian Parliament Calls for social media Regulator

An Indian parliamentary panel has called for the creation of a regulator to oversee social media platforms, bringing their treatment more in line with that of publishers in terms of liability for their content.

The panel argues that since the law treats social media firms as intermediaries, they have thus far avoided responsibility for content published by their users. Speaking on condition of anonymity, Bloomberg’s sources also noted that personal protection bill was not specific enough regarding social media platforms, making regulation too ineffective.

Currently, social media firms in India are not legally liable for content published by their users as long as they meet the Intermediary Guidelines introduced earlier this year.

To read more, click here.

Source: Developing Telecoms (25 November 2021).

Cryptos, AI, blockchain +

South Korea’s crypto taxation plan is under potential delay

The planned tax on cryptocurrency gains in South Korea could be delayed by the ruling Democratic Party (DP).

A 20% tax on gains more than 2.5m ($2,116) through cryptocurrency trading designed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance was set to come into place on January 1, 2022. Opposition party members, as well as the ruling party members, agreed that a delay may be the best way forward in order to prepare fully for the new rules that would come into play.

To read more, click here.

Source: Yahoo Finance (5 November 2021).

How startups can prepare for the proposed EU AI regulation

Many young businesses consider future regulation to be a luxury problem. If you’ve got the government on your heels, you’re probably doing something right.

But the European Commission’s draft legislation on artificial intelligence, published in April, is anything but a luxury. It will apply to any AI system whose recommendations can influence an EU citizen, be that a customer or an employee. Compliance could be complex — and costly. Startups, you should not underestimate this.

To read more, click here.

Source: Sifted (5 November 2021).

Nigeria is pushing cryptocurrency traders out of its banking system

On 3 November, Nigeria’s Central Bank issued a Post-No-Debit circular to the banks, instructing them to close the accounts of named bank customers and place their funds in suspense accounts for engaging in cryptocurrency trading.

On Tuesday 9 November, Williams (a customer) woke up to despairing news. His bank account had been closed for “benefiting from crypto transactions”. According to the message received, his bank had received a “mandate from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to close down all accounts engaging in crypto”.

To read more, click here.

Source: The Africa Report (18 November 2021).