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Intellectual Property (IP) – Building competitive markets

Did you know that the World Intellectual Property day is observed every year on April 26? Since the year 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) celebrates intellectual creativity and the contribution made by creators and innovators from around the world.  On Friday, August 21, 2020, the Strathmore Law Clinic held an exciting webinar dubbed ” The Implications of COVID – 19 on intellectual property”.  To further enlighten the virtual listeners on the agenda were David Indeje – (Programme Officer, Kenya Union of Journalists), Tabitha Tongoi – (Digital Marketing Manager, entrepreneur, and blogger – Craving Yellow) and Mutua Mutuku ( Advocate of the High Court and Patent agent.)  The moderators of the event were 2nd year Strathmore Law School students Blessing Wanjau, and Emmanuel  Gacheru.

What are the forms of Intellectual property?

According to the World intellectual properties, there are four primary types of intellectual property (IP).  Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. The experts differentiate them as follows:

  1. Patent – Used to protect inventive ideas or processes – things that are new, useful, and not obvious. Patents are what often come to mind when thinking of IP protection.
  2. Copyright – Copyrights do not protect ideas, but rather how ideas are expressed: “original works of authorship”. They include written works: art, music, architectural drawings, and programming code for software.
  3. Trademark – They are often considered assets that describe or otherwise identify the source of underlying products or services that a company provides.
  4. Trade Secret – They are proprietary procedures, systems, devices, formulas, strategies that are confidential and exclusive to the company using them. They act as competitive advantages for the business. For example, the formula for Coca-Cola.

How can I maximize my ideas?

It is important to remember that not all ideas make money. Also, they take longer before the reward is enjoyed. Be prepared because the process also drains your resources in terms of time and money. However, there is no harm in trying especially if it is something you are passionate about. Passion is the fuel that will help you stay on course. You can protect your idea by inventing in your area of expertise. You have the benefit of understanding your invention beyond its basics. Secondly, save some money; the process will not only drain your funds but time and other resources. Thirdly, search for what you want to invent to ensure you are not duplicating what is already in the market. Fourth, register your company and get the basic confidentiality and IP agreements from the institutions involved. Finally, create a domain name and website for your product. It is a great way to set forth the idea.

Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI)

It is also vital to get to know how KIPI can help you. It is a government parastatal under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives. The Institute was established on 2nd May 2002 upon the coming into force of the Industrial Property Act 2001. Its mission is to protect and promote industrial property rights and foster innovation for sustainable development in Kenya. Some of the functions of this institution are to administer Industrial Property Rights, to promote inventiveness in Kenya, to provide technological Information to the public, and to provide training on Industrial Property.

This article was written by Annete Karanja.


Would you like to share your experience of living through the circumstances brought by the Covid-19 pandemic? Kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu