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State to review law on intellectual property

Kenyan athletes do not earn their true value from the sports industry in terms of sponsorships, gate revenues, media rights fees and merchandising. (Courtesy)

The government is set to review policy to enable Kenyans benefit more from their creativity.

The announcement came as Kenyans marked the World Intellectual Property (WIP) Day on Friday.

The WIP Day is marked on April 26 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation to celebrate the role that intellectual property rights (IPR) in form of patents, trademarks, industrial designs, utility models and copyright play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

Leading Kenyans in marking the day, Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said this year’s event on the theme, “Reach for Gold: IP and Sport”, focused on how innovation, creativity and IPR encourage, protect and support the development and performance of sports and its enjoyment around the world.

“The theme resonates perfectly well with us Kenyans considering that we are renowned because of the great talents of our sportsmen and women who have achieved great success in different sports disciplines globally over the years,” Mr Munya said in a speech read on his behalf by Julius Kirima in Nairobi during the opening of the celebrations.

The CS said sport has become a multi-billion dollar global industry and the business relationships built on IP rights have increasingly stimulated economic growth. Munya said his ministry, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, will soon review the Draft National IP Policy developed in 2013 to take into account international best practices.

“It is unfortunate that our sport champions only benefit from their talents in terms of the prizes they are given when they win the events they compete in,” he said.

The champions, Munya said, do not earn their true value from the sports industry in terms of sponsorships, gate revenues, media rights fees and merchandising, out of which the global industry is estimated to generate about $1 billion (Sh100 billion) in revenue annually.

However, the minister said all is not lost for the country’s sports champions.

“In fact, I am happy to note that some of our sport personalities and teams are increasingly recognising the value of their image or personality rights and partnered with various top brands in the country to earn revenue,” he said.

At the same time, Munya said the Government was aware the country does not have a proper national intellectual property policy and strategy to guide Kenyans on how to make a fortune from their creativity.

“This will not only promote, preserve, aid innovation and creativity among Kenyans; it will create an industrial and enterprising economy that would attract more local and foreign direct investments,” he said.

Munya said his ministry, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, will soon review the Draft National IP Policy developed in 2013 to take into account international best practices.