State agency pushes for protection of intellectual property rights

KIPI Managing Director John Onyango and Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association CEO Richard Muteti during Homabay's second International Investment Conference. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) has called on the business community to be keen while protecting their intellectual property (IP) rights.

Speaking during Homabay's second International Investment Conference, John Onyango, the Managing Director of KIPI, said the agency, as a steward of industrial property rights across patents, utility models, industrial designs, and trademarks, its goal is to empower the business community with the knowledge that it needs to protect its IP rights.

Mr Onyango pointed out the significance of IP for both businesses and individual inventors in ensuring sustainable growth and safeguarding innovations.

"IP is critical to the survival and growth of businesses and individual investors alike," Onyango said.

"Without it, innovators forfeit the chance to expand their businesses and lose their edge in the competitive market."

He noted that to amplify its impact, KIPI collaborates with State agencies like the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), aiming to integrate IP protection with quality standards enforcement.

This partnership ensures that innovations not only secure IP rights but also meet national and international quality standards, enhancing their marketability and consumer trust.

"By working closely with KEBS, we provide a holistic approach to innovation protection and quality assurance, giving Kenyan products a competitive edge in the global market," Onyango added.

"This strategic alliance underscores the importance of harmonizing IP protection with quality control, providing a comprehensive support system for innovators and entrepreneurs in Kenya."

Richard Muteti, a KIPI Board member and CEO of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association, echoed Onyango's sentiments on the necessity of IP security.

"In a marketplace teeming with creativity, protecting your product through IP registration is your first step towards commercial triumph," Muteti said, urging immediate action from entrepreneurs to  patent inventions and brand their products, particularly those eyeing the lucrative East African market.

Peris Onyango, founder of Joppers Busy Limited, stood out with her narrative of triumph through IP protection. Her venture into the market with Mit Mit, a uniquely trade marked sugar cane juice blend, showcases the critical role of early IP registration in establishing a business's unique identity and facilitating its growth.

Attributing her success to the backing from the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre and regulatory authorities like KEBS and KIPI, Onyango averred, "IP registration goes beyond mere legal necessity; it is the cornerstone of business development and market expansion."