The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) has issued a warning to mores than 2,000 products that risk their Trademarks.
KIPI, the custodian of trademarks in the Kenya said it will clear 2,162 products from its register if their owners fail to renew their respective trademark licences by next Wednesday.
“Where no application for renewal of a trade mark published herein is received within 30 days from the date of this publication, the trade mark shall be forthwith removed from the Register of Trade Marks,” John Onyango, the acting managing director at Kipi, said in a notice on June 15, adding that the proprietors of the affected marks have until July 15 to renew them.
A review of the notice by Kipi shows that several global brands risk being affected by the register clean-up.
They include Colgate registered by Colgate-Palmolive; Vaseline by Unilever; Hostess flour by Unga Limited; and Total Gas and Total Gaz by Total.
Others are Hennessy and Hennessy Cognac by Societe Jas Hennessy and Company, and Philips by NV Philips Loeilampenfabrieken Vas.
Once removed, firms can apply to have the trade marks reinstated at Kipi’s discretion. This is amid the rising fears of counterfeited goods.
“The trade mark shall then be restored to the Register of Trade Marks upon being satisfied that it is just to do so and upon imposing such conditions as the registrar may deem fit,” said Mr Onyango.
For instance, KIPI’s records states that the Colgate trademark expired in 1998, Vaseline (2008), Hostess (2008); Total Gas (2010) Hennessy (1981) and Philips (1983).
Other expired trademarks are Pepsi registered by Pepsi Co that expired in 1998, Smirnoff registered by Guinness UDV North America, (expired 2017), Skoda by the Czech company Koncernovy Podnik (2009), IBM by American company International Business Machines Corporation that is said to have expired in 1980.
The list also includes trademarks by Pegasus that expired in 1976, Finlay’s by James Finlay and Company Limited (expired 1993), BP (2007), Martini by Barcadi and Company Limited (2008), Sellotape by Adhesive Company Limited (1980), and Citroen (1982).
A trade mark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of application, according to the Trademarks Act.
Six months prior to the expiry of the 10 years, the registrar is required by law to notify the owner of the trade mark of the imminent expiry of the concerned trademark.
In 2016, Apple lost a trademark fight in China, meaning a firm which sells handbags and other leather goods was allowed continue to use the name “IPHONE”.
Xintong Tiandi trademarked “IPHONE” for leather products in China in 2010, but Apple filed a trademark bid for the name for electronic goods in 2002, but it was not approved until 2013.
Courts in China ruled that Apple could not prove it was a well-known brand in the country before Xintong Tiandi filed its trademark application in 2007.