Wednesday 17 July 2013


Diary of a Patent Attorney in Kenya: Patent Drafting Courses

In August, two separate courses related to patent drafting are planned in Nairobi.
A Master and His Pupil
Giovanni Do, c. 1637-8

The first course is five days from 5th to 9th August, and is sponsored by Kenyatta University (KU), a public university. The course is on Patent Drafting and Dispute Resolution, and includes two “Patent Specialists” as instructors.

The second course is four days from 12th to 15th August, and is co-sponsored by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI, the Kenya patent and trademark office) and the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT). The focus here is Patent Drafting and Patent Prosecution, and the instructors include this Leo and KIPI examiners.

The very existence of two (quite substantial) courses in one month indicates that Kenya is now focusing resources and attention on patents. The question for this Leo is whether such focus is an indication that Kenyans are embracing patenting. Over the past decade or so, KIPI has been issuing less than about 15 patents per year to Kenyan applicants. Do these new courses signal that an increase in the number of applications is occurring or is likely to occur in the near future? Only time will tell, but there is a Buddhist proverb that says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

One thing should be kept in mind about these courses. Learning to draft patents is a process that typically takes many months (or years) under the supervision of an experienced patent attorney/agent. A one-week course can, at best, be only an introduction to the patent drafting process. Further classes and significant direct tutelage is required for an aspiring drafter to learn the trade.

This Leo will be teaching in the KIPI/CIPIT course, and looks forward to identifying a few individuals with “the right stuff” – i.e., a passion for writing, an interest in science/technology, and the time and patience to learn a skill that is currently almost unknown in Kenya.



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22 July 2013 at 08:04 delete

Above all, let's demystify patent law, in particular and IP law generally. This exciting area of professional work should not be the sole preserve of a few (read: big ticket law firms).