CELEBRATING WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DAY – IP AND YOUTH INNOVATING FOR A BETTER FUTURE
It’s World Intellectual Property Day!
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), World IP Day is a yearly celebration that offers a unique opportunity to join with others around the globe to consider how intellectual property (IP) helps the global arts scene to flourish and how it enables the technological innovation that drives human progress.1 In 2000, WIPO’s member states designated April 26, the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970, as World IP Day with the aim of increasing general understanding of IP.2
WIPO also states that World IP Day is an opportunity to highlight the role that IP rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity. Keen to this mission, this year, the World Intellectual Property Day 2022’s theme focuses on IP and Youth innovating for a Better Future. The aim is to explore how young, innovative, energetic, and creative minds are driving positive change.3
To celebrate, we have decided to recognize and highlight two young creators and innovators who embody this year’s theme, and while at it, we aim to create IP awareness and understanding.
Chatterbox Film & Theatre
Chatterbox Film & Theatre is a media production company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Founded in 2013, and under the creative directorship of John Jumbi, Chatterbox Film & Theatre has gone on to create, produce and distribute plays, short films, and mini web series. Some of their works include the short film ‘318’, the theatre play ‘Lwanda Rockman’, and more recently the mini comedy web series ‘Wembe Squad’. The film industry creates a space for the collaboration of various creatives to fuse their creative efforts such as actors, script writers, costume designers, editors, music composers among others.4 In turn the use of copyrightable works creates jobs, generates income and makes a positive impact in society. We celebrate young creators who embody the theme IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.
The original works put out by Chatterbox Film & Theatre are eligible for copyright protection in Kenya. Copyright is a bundle of rights granted to protect literary and artistic works. Familiar examples of copyrightable works include books, music, paintings, sculptures, and films, among many others. It is important to remember that copyright protects the expression of the idea and not the idea itself.
For creative works to acquire copyright protection, the following criteria must be met;
It must be a work eligible for copyright protection – Under Section 22 of the Copyright Act, works eligible for copyright protection include literary works, musical works, artistic works, dramatic works, audio-visual works, sound recordings; and broadcasts.5
It must be original – This means that there should be a combination of skill and labour expended in creating the work. The creator or author must have expended sufficient effort and skill in making the work.
It must be reduced to a tangible/fixed form – This means that the work should be written down, recorded or otherwise presented in a material format. This form can be of any nature provided the work can then be perceived, reproduced, or communicated through a device. Such devices can be paper, cardboard, computer, disc etc.
It is also worth noting that copyright protection is obtained automatically, upon meeting the criteria above, without the need for registration or other formalities; and as such a copyright owner can still exercise their rights and raise claims upon violation, without registration. It is however important to register as it provides evidence of ownership. In Kenya, registration of copyright is administered by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO); and is currently carried out online through the Kenya National Rights Registry Portal accessible via nrr.copyright.go.ke.
There are two types of rights under copyright: economic rights, which allow the rights owner to derive financial reward from the use of their works by others;6 and moral rights, which protect the author’s right to claim authorship of the work and object to any modification or derogatory action that may harm the author’s reputation.7 Economic rights include the rights to reproduce, translate, adapt, publicly perform, and broadcast one’s work.
As the owners of their creative works, Chatterbox Film & Theatre can and have actively exploited their economic rights by staging their play(s), and uploading their content on viewing platforms. The ownership of copyright also gives them the right to permit or deny the use of their work by other parties, and in case of violation of their rights and infringement, the right to sue for damages.
Majik Water is a machine that harvests clean, potable water directly from moisture in the air.8 Designed by Beth Koigi, the vision behind Majik Water is ‘Creating a new source of affordable, clean drinking water for water scarce communities.’9 Majik Water seeks to solve the issue of water scarcity by producing filters that are capable of harvesting drinking water from the air.10 The air contains six times more water than all the rivers of the world combined.11 Koigi realized that by condensing the water, she could ensure that even people living in the most drought-prone areas could have access to clean drinking water.12 The Majik Water devices are made with Kenyans and their specific needs in mind, taking advantage of Kenya’s climate and high levels of humidity in many areas.13 However, the device also works in areas with as little as 35% humidity, making it a more versatile resource. The solar technology involved makes the system more cost-effective.14
Majik Water is a great example of products eligible for industrial intellectual property protection. Industrial property is one of two subsets of intellectual property (the other being copyright). It takes a range of forms, the main types of which are outlined here and include patents for inventions, industrial designs (aesthetic creations related to the appearance of industrial products) and utility models.15
In Kenya, industrial intellectual property protection is governed by the Industrial Property Act, No. 3 of 2001. Additionally, examination, registration and administration of these rights is done by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
The table below shows what criteria an invention must meet in order to receive either Patent, Industrial Design or Utility Model protection.
Type of IP Right/ Criteria to be met
Inventive step is a test that ensures that the novel feature of an invention is not trivial and adds a useful technical effect.16 Section 24 of the Industrial Property Act provides that an invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step if, having regard to the prior art relevant to the application claiming the invention, it would not have been obvious to a person skilled in the art to which the invention pertains on the date of the filing of the application or, if priority is claimed, on the priority date validly claimed in respect thereof.17 This means that an invention, so far as claimed in a claim, involves an inventive step if it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art, having regard to any matter which forms part of the prior art base.18 Looking at novelty, Section 23(1) of the Industrial Property Act states that an invention is new/novel if it is not anticipated by prior art. 19 This means that an invention should not have been known to the public before the date of filing of the patent/industrial design/utility model application or the priority date claimed. Lastly, for an invention to be industrially applicable section 25 of the Industrial Property Act provided that it needs to be able to be used or made in any kind of industry.20
For Majik Water, the acquiring of any or all of these IP rights, grants them the right to actively use their invention to the exclusion of other parties for a given period of time. Industrial IP rights can be considered to be assets in that having invested a considerable amount of money and time in developing innovative products, through exclusive patent rights or other industrial IP rights, one may be able to establish themselves in the market as a pre-eminent player and to obtain higher returns on investments. Additionally, if one chooses not to exploit the patent themself, they may sell it or licence the commercialization of the patented invention to another enterprise, which could then be a source of income for them.21
Other than the mentioned IP rights above, there are other IP rights that protect different intellectual property. These include;
Trademarks – A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights.22
Geographical Indications – A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.23
Trade Secrets – Trade secrets are intellectual property (IP) rights on confidential information which may be sold or licensed. In general, to qualify as a trade secret, the information must be commercially valuable because it is secret, be known only to a limited group of persons, and be subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret, including the use of confidentiality agreements for business partners and employees.24
Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions – Traditional knowledge (TK) is knowledge, know-how, skills and practices that are developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity.
Therefore, on this day, I hope we are reminded of the important role intellectual property rights play in promoting innovation and creativity; and how valuable it is for young creators and innovators to know more about IP and IP rights. This knowledge will enable them to know how best to protect and exploit their works, and in turn share their inventions and arts with the rest of the world.
At CIPIT, our mission is to study, create, and share knowledge on the development of intellectual property. You can learn more about IP and IP rights by visiting our website on https://cipit.strathmore.edu/, and by reading our blogs on IP and IP rights issues here https://cipit.strathmore.edu/blog/. We also have a podcast that you could tune in to available here https://cipit.strathmore.edu/podcasts/
Happy World IP Day!
12 Section 25, Industrial Property Act, No. 3 of 2001
15 Section 32, Copyright Act, 2001 (as amended in 2022)
18 Section 24, Industrial Property Act, No. 3 of 2001
19 Section 23(1), Industrial Property Act, No. 3 of 2001
21 Section 22, Copyright Act, 2001 as amended in 2022