Reports from Kenya indicate that more than 2,162 products are at risk of losing their market protection following the expiry of their trademark licences.
Kenya Industrial Property Institute (Kipi) said the affected products will effectively on Wednesday lose their licenses in the East African economy.
According to the Trademarks Act in Kenya, a trade mark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of application. 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.
The products according to a list published by Kipi shows Colgate registered by Colgate-Palmolive; Vaseline by Unilever; Hostess flour by Unga Limited; and Total Gas and Total Gaz by Total.
On this long list there is also Hennessy and Hennessy Cognac by Societe Jas Hennessy and Company, and Philips by NV Philips Loeilampenfabrieken Vas.
John Onyango, the acting managing director at Kipi says, “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.”
Once removed, firms can apply to have the trade marks reinstated at Kipi’s discretion.
Registration of a trade mark gives a proprietor direct evidence of exclusive ownership and helps keep off potential infringers who may try to ride on the goodwill of one’s mark.