Safaricom’s Kaplan & Stratton advocates struggles in Intellectual Property case

by Wakili Liam
Kibo Capital Group Limited

A few weeks ago, the Intellectual Property Tribunal heard a case in which Safaricom Plc is accused of infringing the Intellectual Property right of Kibo Capital Group Limited.

The case which involves a Utility Model registered with the Kenya Industrial Property Institute by Kibo Capital in 2017 is a big one, but Safaricom’s representative, according to court documents, is struggling to defend the indefensible.

A article by IP Watch written a few years ago tackles the issue of Intellectual Property Theft.

“Companies have allegedly stolen the inventions, exploiting gaps in IP laws, the innovators’ lack of information and financial abilities”, the IP Watch article said.

This was corroborated by an inventor who was interviewed by the organisation; “Loss of innovations to the companies is real in this country. There is generally little information available on how innovators can protect their inventions,” said Kelvin Macharia, an innovator at the University of Nairobi.

Court documents show Kibo Capital Group Limited has laid all the facts on why Safaricom’s MPESA Bill Manager for Businesses has infringed on its registered Utility Model.

Safaricom’s comeback is weak and full of threats to deregister the Utility Model, which is an admission of guilt and plan to commit crime.

Kaplan and Stratton’s argument is based on threats and falsely accusing KIPI of not knowing its work to register Kibo Capital Universal Verifiable e-Receipts.

What is a Utility Model? Utility model means any form, configuration or disposition of element of some appliance, utensil, tool, electrical and electronic circuitry, instrument, handicraft mechanism or other object or any part of the same allowing a better or different functioning, use, or manufacture of the subject matter or that gives some utility, advantage, environmental benefit, saving or technical effect not available in Kenya before and includes micro-organisms or other self-replicable material, products of genetic resources, herbal as well as nutritional formulations which give new effects. A utility model certificate expires at the end of the tenth year after the date of the grant of the utility model, and is not renewable.

Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Website.

On the other hand, Kibo Capital case is solid, this is according to analysts at Mahakamani and intellectual law experts.

Kibo’s offering is registered on more than one instance, making it hard for Safaricom to claim that KIPI did a shoddy job.

Safaricom Plc

The anger and confusion at the law firm Kaplan and Stratton might be due to the fact that there’s no way to defend theft even as MPESA Bill Manager for Businesses copied the utility model to the last.

The number of utility model registrations at KIPI, by Kibo Capital Group Limited, constitutes 4. The others expand the scope of the definition of the Biller Integration and Recepting System and are mentioned below.

The registration date for the below is November 2017 and for those that have checked the MPESA Bill Maager for Businesses, it copied the following:

Patent 195:
Universally verifiable electronic banking slip system

Universally verifiable electronic banking slip system is a system that looks into digital remittance of a universally verifiable electronic banking slip to offer alternative to the current physical banking slips that are prone to fraud and are cumbersome to authenticate whenever presented with as a proof of payment for a receiving institution prior to releasing goods, providing a service or issuing an official payment receipt for the direct banking deposit. The invention is intended to assist financial institutions, utility provision companies, savings and credit societies and organizations to avail the universally verifiable electronic banking slips to their depositors, customers and assist account holders who may want to have alternate universal verification mechanisms. The depositors are also able to keep electronic records for all purposes with improved preservation. The records generated by this system will have a universally verifiable coding that will be used by any interested parties to verify authenticity of the banking transaction under review. The invention is availed in all form digital on web interface, Mobile Applications, email, short message services and many other technologies under invention now and in the future.

Patent 168

This invention is a system that looks into fully revolutionizing the trade space by ensuring that we have a complete paperless system where both providers and consumers of all goods and services have a digital way of initiating, closing, generating a notification and recording all services and goods sold electronically without using any paper therein for purposes of the records. The records generated by this system will have a universally verifiable coding that will be used by any interested parties to verify authenticity of any such sale. The invention is availed in all form digital on web interface, Mobile Applications, email, short message services and many other technologies under invention now and in the future.

The earliest Kibo Capital Group Limited Utility Model will be available for free is 2028. For now, all those who are using it will have to pay.

Evans Okech, Director of Innovation Kibo Capital Group Limited

Patent 170

This invention includes systems, procedures and computer programs for creating Digital Financial Guarantor Processing System to both financial institutions and members. The system will hugely improve efficiency in the financial services industry especially Savings and Credit organizations (SACCOS) and the financial services industry at large. The present system does not provide anything digital but rather a cumbersome form circulation and signing exercise that may take between a week to a year getting persons from different geographical locations before completing the process. The Digital Financial Guarantor Processing system will provide a digital solution by ensuring that an applicant will be able to digitally request for guarantors approvals electronically while the guarantors will have the free will to either accept or reject the applicant’s request electronically. The confidentiality scope will be managed fully with each member having the liberty to elect how much they would be comfortable to guarantee.

Kibo Capital Group Limited is represented by Karanu Kanai & Company Advocates.

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