The Trade Marks Registry in Kenya is undertaking a massive exercise to clean up the Kenyan Trade Marks Register. The process has been ongoing since February 2020 when the Registry started issuing notices to proprietors of trade marks with the warning that, unless the trade marks are renewed within the deadline stated in the notice, the marks would be removed from the Register.
Under the Trade Marks Act and Rules, such notices should be given by the Registry as a matter of course no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days prior to the expiry of the registration period for a trade mark. However, in the past the Registry has been lax in putting out such notices. This has led to the current situation where there are numerous marks that have expired, but remain on the Register. The expired marks have been the source of frustration to applicants for the registration of similar marks, as they are cited by the Registry’s trade mark examiners barring the intended applications.
In a special edition of the Industrial Property Journal issued on 15 June 2020, the Registrar of Trade Marks published details of more than 2,000 trade marks that are in danger of being removed from the Register. The proprietors of these marks have until 15 July 2020 to renew the marks by paying the requisite renewal fees and late renewal fees, failing which the Registrar will be at liberty to remove the marks from the Register.
Once a mark has been removed from the Register, the proprietor’s option will be to file an application for the restoration of the mark to the Register. It is, however, important to note that such restoration is not automatic, but is at the discretion of and subject to any conditions imposed by the Registrar.
Below is a link to the Industrial Property Journal for your perusal. It is worthwhile for you and/or your clients to peruse it, in case there are any expired trade marks therein which you or your clients wish to renew.
We expect that in the coming months the Registrar will publish details of more marks that the Registrar wishes to remove from the Register.