Kenya is rapidly advancing toward its goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2030, and the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) sector is foundational to this growth. As it grows, the Kenyan industries are discovering the importance of intellectual property (IP). Kenyan businesses, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and civil society are eager to learn how to evaluate, acquire, trade, and leverage IP assets that were previously largely ignored. This need is, currently, largely unmet.
Strathmore University is a leading institution of higher education in Kenya. The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) is a part of Strathmore Law School, and is an innovative Centre for evidence-based research and training in intellectual property and information technology law and policy.
As a training institute, CIPIT provides practical courses and seminars targeting lawyers, business professionals, venture capitalists, media houses, and start-up incubators in areas of IP law, with a particular focus on issues unique to ICT. Example training topics include IP portfolio management, patent drafting and filing, branding and marketing, and issues pertaining to licensing.
A second area of focus is that of IP policy. CIPIT helps government and private institutions develop laws and internal policies that effectively account for IP issues. Examples include laws that affect freedom of information and data protection, as well as policies dealing with social media and IP ownership.
To help guide the training and teaching aspects of CIPIT in law and policy, research fellows conduct original research. Primarily, such research characterizes the impact of foreign and domestic IP laws on development in East Africa, and enables policy makers to draft the most appropriate and beneficial IP legislation.
In addition to focusing on the ICT industry, CIPIT provides similar services and conducts similar research into IP law issues specific to agriculture, artistic works, and biodiversity. These sectors, along with ICT, will continue to provide the foundation of the Kenyan economy in the coming decades. CIPIT enables key players in these sectors to make efficient use of IP both at home and abroad.