Has Safaricom PLC been outmanoeuvred in the innovation and creative sector?
Yesterday, the Industrial Property Tribunal (IPT) stopped Safaricom PLC from using or marketing the M-PESA Bill Manager for Businesses until a case filed by Kibo Capital Group Limited is heard and determined.
“It is hereby ordered that pending the hearing and determination of this application inter partes, interim orders be and is hereby issued restraining the Respondents its directors, officers, their agents, servants or any of them or otherwise from using, advertising of offering services. or dealing with the Requester’s utility model’s No. 163 being an invention titled: Universally Verifiable Electronic Receipt for Mobile Money Payments in the name of Onyango Jasper Ochieng, Utility Model no.168 being an invention titled: Sales Initiation Closure Notification Generator and Recording Engine in the name of Onyango Jasper Ochieng, Utility Model No.169 being an invention titled: Biller Integration and Receipting System in the name of Kibo Capital Group Limited and Utility Model No. 195 being an invention titled: Universally Verifiable Electronic Banking Slip in the name of Onyango Jasper Ochicng.”
A Kenyan innovator, Jasper Ochieng’ had sued Safaricom PLC after the firm launched MPESA Bill manager for businesses that resemble Kibo Capital’s Utility Model registered in November 2017 by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
Kibo Capital had in September 2017 presented the idea to Safaricom’s Senior Product’s Manager for M-PESA to discuss the biller and e-Recepting solutions.
Material facts regarding the innovation by Kibo Capital were discussed but the contract never materialized only for Safaricom to implement the same idea 3 years later without involving Kibo thereby infringing on the copyright.
Safaricom PLC has one week to respond to the Interim orders that will remain till the last week of April 2021. The case is set to be heard on 21st April, 2021