Legal notes to trademark registration in Kenya

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Trademark registration in Kenya. Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in Eastern Africa. Kenya is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, COMESA, International Criminal Court, and other international organizations. Kenya’s economy is the largest in eastern and central Africa, with Nairobi serving as a major regional commercial hub. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn the procedure of trademark registration in Kenya.

Necessary documents for trademark registration in Kenya

Necessary documents for trademark registration in Kenya include:

  • A signed, notarized, and legalized Power of Attorney (POA);
  • Detailed information about the applicant;
  • A list of the goods and the corresponding classes;
  • The meaning of the trademark (if available);
  • A certified priority document (If any).

The procedure of trademark registration in Kenya

In order to obtain trademark protection in Kenya, the applicant needs to file the trademark application to the Kenyan IP Office.

After receiving the trademark application, the examiner in the IP Office will conduct formality and substantive examinations.

If there are no errors detected in the trademark application, the trademark will be published in the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) journal.

After the publication, the trademark will be opened for an opposition period of 60 days in which any related third parties may file an opposition to the registration of the trademark.

If no opposition is raised, the trademark will be registered and the applicant will receive the Certificate of Registration of the Trademark.

Once registered, a trademark in Kenya will have a protection period of 10 years from the date of registration.

The trademark owner must file for renewal of the trademark 6 months before the expiration date to extend the validity period of the trademark for another 10 years.

Note:

For foreign applicants, it is necessary to be represented by a local agent, a registered Kenyan trademark attorney.

The process of trademark registration in Kenya takes approximately 12-16 months from the filing date up to the registration of the trademark.

Use requirement of a trademark

In Kenya, trademark protection may also be obtained through the use of the trademark.

However, it should be noted that even though trademarks may be protected through use, the trademark owner is advised to register the trademark by filing the appropriate application form with the Institute because trademark registration will provide stronger protection in Kenya, particularly in the case of conflict with an identical or confusingly similar trademark.

If a trademark has not been used for a continuous period of five years from the registration, it can be canceled upon a third party’s request.

IP Treaties that Kenya is a member of:

  • The Constitution;
  • The Trademarks Act;
  • The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property;
  • The Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks;
  • The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks;
  • The Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol; and
  • The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

You can see a list of Kenya IP firms here.

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