Microsoft portal eases trademark processes for innovators

Mr Louis Otieno, Microsoft Corporate Affairs Director, Afrika Initiativen (centre) explains the features of the Microsoft IP Hub to Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi and Gabriel Mranda, Director, Mranda Technologies (right) during the portal’s launch in Nairobi. Photo | ANNIE NJANJA

What you need to know:

  • To market or sell an innovation, its creators must have a proof of ownership which can be determined through a patent or a trademark.
  • The free- to- use portal will encourage developers to rely on legal means in protecting their innovations.
  • IP Hub portal is open to all app developers and not exclusive to windows app developers.

Maureen Macharia, a key developer of Mavazi, an online closet application, is in search of venture capitalists. And although she looks forward to develop the product further, the future remains uncertain because her team is yet to protect the innovation from competitors.

She is among many developers in the country who prefer channelling their limited resources to business development instead of hiring a lawyer to take them through the process of protecting their intellectual property.

Ms Macharia cites the expensive and tedious process of trademark and patent application, and the lack of supportive systems as the main reasons for the delayed submission.

“We have not yet engaged use of any of IP protection channels, even though we have considered it. We understand that it is beneficial and important but we are reluctant because those channels are time-consuming and expensive because you have to involve a lawyer,” she added.

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