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Kenya most supportive of patent deals: Report

Monday, October 18th, 2021 00:00 |
Economic growth. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya has the most supportive environment for production of patents, copyrights and trademarks in Africa, according to a US Chamber of Commerce report.

Analysts say that countries with the best innovation environment are deemed as most likely to find solutions to unlikely problems such as Covid-19 which cushions their economies in times of hardships.

“Kenya’s overall score has increased from 36.82 per cent in the eighth edition of 2020 to 37.25 per cent released in 2021,” says the 2021 International IP Index.

Now in its ninth edition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s International IP Index provides an industry perspective on IP standards that inform long term and short term business investment decisions.

The criteria used to rank nations include terms of protection for the patents, criteria for patentability, enforcement, exclusive rights and others.

International index

According to the international IP index, the key areas of strength for Kenya include the Anti-Counterfeit Act amendments of 2020 which strengthens enforcement powers.

The Copyright amendments of 2019 also ensures protection of copyright in Kenya and has a basic IP framework in place, including several sector specific rights.

“Kenya has dedicated IP bodies and enforcement agencies and made recent efforts to improve knowledge and framework for proper use and commercialisation of IP assets,” says the report.

The 2021 Index says economies with the most effective IP frameworks are more likely to achieve the socio-economic benefits needed to combat COVID-19, including greater access to venture capital, increased private sector investment in research and development, and over ten times more clinical trial activity.

The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) released a draft IP Bill in 2020, the primary stated purpose of the bill was to consolidate the administration of the current IP agencies into one body. 

It also consolidates all major IP-related legislation into one legislative act. The enacting of a new IP law provides Kenya a good opportunity to examine its national IP environment.

Legislative challenges

“As the Index has documented over the past five years in several areas legislative changes could strengthen Kenya’s national IP environment and improve its economic competitiveness,” says the report.

However, the areas for weakness in Kenya include the fact that the draft IP Bill in 2020 would combine IP authorities including the Copyright Board and KIPI into one unit which makes it unclear whether each section would have enough resources to function.


There are barriers in place for licensing and technology transfer and there is no IP or search and development specific taxes in place.

Further, there are no targeted incentives for the creation and use of IP assets for SMEs and Kenya has a weak and backlogged judicial system.

Kenya must also sort important gaps in copyright protection and enforcement, particularly in the digital space, according to the report.

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