Kenya - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property

Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.

Last published date: 2021-09-13

Kenya is a member the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization. Kenya is a signatory to the TRIPS Agreement and several other major international and regional intellectual property conventions as noted below. Kenya also is a member of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) based in Harare, Zimbabwe and is empowered by the Harare protocol on patents and industrial designs to grant patents and to register utility models and industrial designs on behalf of contracting states.

However, enforcement of IPR continues to pose a challenge to rights holders. Pirated and counterfeit products in Kenya present a major impediment to U.S. businesses operating in the country. Industry estimates that piracy and counterfeiting of business software, records, music, consumer goods, and electronics such as mobile phones, and pharmaceuticals in Kenya costs firms over $300mn in lost sales annually.

The Government of Kenya’s Intellectual Property Bill 2020 seeks to tighten policy control around IP enforcement. Specifically, the bill will result in the combination of parallel IP related acts resulting into the combination of all IP related agencies, namely, the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), Kenya Intellectual Property Institute (KIPI) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Agency (ACA) so as to form one Intellectual Property Office of Kenya (IPOK).

In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property. For background, please see Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov for more resources. For more information, contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director, Stevan Mitchell at Stevan.Mitchell@trade.gov.