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UNLOCK THE POWER OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: A GUIDE TO REGISTERING YOUR SOFTWARE IN KENYA

Basically, copyright is a legal right that gives the creators of original works, such as literary works, musical works, and artistic works which include books, music, films, and software, the exclusive right to control the use and exploitation of their works, including the right to reproduce, distribute, and perform their works.

In Kenya, copyrights are regulated by the Copyright Act, of 2001 (the “Act”) and the process of registering software is typically handled by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) established under the Act.

The simplified process of registration of the software will be as follows: –

  1. Prepare your application: The first step is to prepare your software registration application. This will typically involve filling out a form provided by KECOBO, which will require information such as the name of the software, the developer, and a description of the software.
  2. Pay the application fee: There is usually an application fee that must be paid when submitting the registration application. The fee can vary depending on the type of software being registered and the type of registration being sought (for example, a copyright registration versus a patent registration)
  3. .Lodge the application with Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO); providing details such as the name of the software and a description of how the software operates, together with any necessary supporting documents. This can be done online or in person.
  4. Wait for the KECOBO to process the application: The KECOBO will review the application and supporting documents and make a decision on the registration of the copyright. This process can take at least 14 days.
  5. Receive the certificate of registration: once KECOBO approves the registration, they will issue a certificate of registration, which serves as proof of your copyright ownership over the software.

PART C: REGISTERING YOUR SOFTWARE AS A TRADEMARK: AN IMPOSSIBLE FEAT?

A trademark is a distinctive name or sign used to identify a product or a service and distinguishes itself from those of other traders. A software name or sign can therefore be registered as a trademark. In Kenya, trademarks are regulated by the Trademarks Act, 2001 (the Act) which provides for the registration, protection, and enforcement of trademarks.

The registered proprietors of a trademark have the right to take legal action against anyone who uses their trademark without their permission or in a manner that is likely to cause confusion with their trademark.

The Act also provides for remedies such as injunctions and damages, to be awarded in case of trademark infringement. The simplified process of registering your software as a trademark is as follows:

  1. Trademark search– The first step in the trademark registration process is to conduct a trademark search at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) to ensure that the trademark you want to register is not already in use by another company or individual.
  2. Application Filing– If the Trademark search is clear, the next step will be to file an application at KIPI. The application will include information such as the trademark owner’s name and address, the goods and services for which the trademark will be used, and a description of the trademark itself.
  3. Examination of the Application– After making the application it will be examined to determine the correctness of the information contained in the application as well as review the trademark’s distinctiveness and confirm that it does not infringe on any existing trademarks.
  4. Publication of Trademark– If the examination of the trademark application is successful, KIPI will publish the trademark in the KIPI Monthly Journal, which is a public record of trademarks registered in Kenya. During this period, other interested parties can raise objections to the registration of the trademark.
  5. Resolution of Objections– If any objections are raised during the publication period, KIPI will examine the objections and make a decision. If the objections are not resolved, the trademark owner can seek legal recourse.
  6. Grant of Registration– If there are no objections or the objections are resolved in favor of the trademark owner, KIPI will grant the trademark registration and issue a certificate of registration

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is intended for general legal advice and does not constitute legal advice for any specific transaction or case. Since each transaction presents a unique legal context, it is advisable to retain a legal adviser for specific transactions.

To contact CR Advocates LLP, send us an email at info@cradvocatesllp.com or call +254 100979081 or Book a strategy call HERE or direct message us HERE on WhatsApp at your convenience. Our legal team will be happy to help you.

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