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Industrial Property Rights Acquisition in Kenya: Facts, figures and trends
The Scinnovent Centre Discussion Paper 02

Bolo, M   Odongo, D   Awino, V

March 2015

Intellectual property rights are seen as important in economic development for at least two main reasons: (i) they provide a mechanism of turning knowledge from a public good to a private good that can be traded and subjected to market forces, and (ii) they help to make freely available technical information since full disclosure is a requirement for granting the protection. However, the awareness about, application for and use of intellectual property is characteristically low in developing countries. In Kenya, previous studies (Bolo et al, 2014) have shown that 65% of innovators have not protected their inventions, 53% have reported low awareness of intellectual property and according to the Kenya Innovation Survey (2012), only 12.9% of firms had secured patents in Kenya and of these just 7% reported having used their patents.

In light of the above, this study used the Kenya Industrial Property (KIPI) database of all industrial property applications and grants since its inception in 1990 to date (2014) and sought to answer four key questions: (i) Where do the inventions come from? In other words who owns the industrial property protected in Kenya? (ii) How does foreign (international) applicants compare with national (domestic) applications? (iii) In which economic sectors are the most industrial property (IP) applications registered? (iv) what are the key challenges/bottlenecks faced by the applicants?