Sunday, 27 January 2013

Trade mark infringement in Kenya: is PIIPA backing an undeserving cause?

CIPIT -- Strathmore University's Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law -- has its own law blog. That blog hosts a boldly-expressed open letter to Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors (PIIPA), an entity which describes itself as
" an international nonprofit organization that provides pro bono intellectual property (IP) legal counsel to governments, businesses, indigenous peoples, and public interest organizations in developing countries that seek to promote health, agriculture, biodiversity, science, culture, and the environment".
The open letter questions the propriety of PIIPA providing pro bono assistance regarding trade mark infringement in Kenya on behalf of
"a member of the Lighting Africa program sponsored by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank".
States the CIPIT open letter:
"The requesting company is clearly not short of financial resources given its affiliation with the Lighting Africa program sponsored by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank. Why would PIIPA agree to help such a non-profit company get pro bono legal assistance to fight its IP battles in Kenya? Shouldn’t PIIPA instead be advising and assisting local Kenyans to repel such IP actions, or at least helping local Kenyans acquire their own IP resources?"
Afro-IP readers are invited to read the PIIPA and CIPIT statements and to draw their own conclusions.

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