In Kenya, all concerns of intellectual property are registerable at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) [1].

Its website offers quite comprehensive information on procedures on Intellectual property rights. Therein trademark[2] is defined as a sign which serves to distinguish the goods of an industrial or a commercial enterprise or a group of such enterprises. It may consist of one or more distinctive works, letters, numbers, drawings or pictures, monograms, signatures, colors or combination of colors, etc. Further, the sign may consist also of combinations of any of the said elements. A Trade Mark can be a word, a symbol, a design, or a combination of these, used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of others in the marketplace.

Note that a trademark must contain or consist of at least one of the following essential particulars:-

  • illustration of the name of a company, individual or firm, represented in a special or particular manner
  • The signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business
  • An invented word or invented words;
  • A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being according to its ordinary signification a geographical name or a surname.
  • Any other distinctive mark.

[1] A government parastatal under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development established on 2nd May 2002, upon the coming into force of the Industrial Property Act 2001. Previously Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPO), established in February 1990 after the enactment of the Industrial Property Act, CAP 509 of the Laws of Kenya.

[2] The Trademarks Act (Cap 506) describes a mark as a distinguishing guise, slogan, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter or numeral or any combination thereof whether rendered in two-dimensional or three-dimensional form.

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