Kibo Capital Group Limited has taken Safaricom PLC to court over copyright infringement.
MPESA Bill manager for businesses that was launched on January 26th, 2021 by the Telco resembles KIBO Capital’s Utility Model that has been in use since 2017.
Cnyakundi.com has learnt that Kibo Capital had in September 2017 presented the idea to Safaricom’s Senior Product’s Manager for M-PESA to discuss the biller and e-Recepting solutions.
Material facts regarding the innovation by Kibo Capital were discussed but the contract never materialized only for Safaricom to implement the same idea 3 years later without involving Kibo.
The Telco has previously been accused of stealing copyrights from youthful Kenyan inventors through its now-defunct Zindua Portal.
- Abuse Of Dominance By Notorious Telco Safaricom Through Zindua Cafe
- Safaricom stole our idea to roll out M-Shwari, Faulu Kenya says
Kibo Capital Group Limited founders registered the Utility Model in 2017 under registration numbers 169, 163, 195, and 168 respectively.
The law that supports the Utility Model registration is The Industrial Property Act No. 3 of 2001, the registering organisation is the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
What is a utility model?
Most people will ask what is innovative about a text message, link and a PDF, but that combination is what constitutes a Utility Model and is recognized intellectual property by the law.
Utility models are industrially new innovation. They are rights granted for inventions that fall short of inventive step required by the patent law. A utility model certificate expires at the end of the tenth year after the date of the grant of the utility model, and is not renewable.
Since Kibo Registered its Utility Model in towards the end of 2017, the earliest anyone can use it fr free is 2028. Right now, anyone using patents 169, 163, 195 and 168 is required to pay.
The firm had already signed up many firms on its system and infringement of the copyright by Safaricom Plc gravely denies it business as most have either asked for discounts and some have asked for 100% waiver on their monthly Bill’s from Kibo.
According to court document, Kibo has sent Safaricom a ‘cease and desist’ letter to which Safaricom responded rather casually and with threats to compromise the registering authority.
The back and fourth between the representatives of Kibo Capital, Karanu Kanai & Co Advocates and Safaricom’s Kaplan & Stratton Advocates culminated in the issuing of a Certificate of Urgency, Intellectual Property case number 96 of 2021 to be heard today, 31st March 2021.
Safaricom is not all that glorious as history has shown, their lies can be defeated; in the above case, they’ve been caught stealing.
The questions however that we pose to ask is, How can Safaricom PLC threaten to de-register a validly registered innovation, could they be above certain laws? This is something we will follow very closely to find out soon.
Safaricom is not that great, like in the case of Cheza Games scandal where this blog covered until the Telco was forced to refund clients, hold steady and let justice be done.
The picture and caption below shows the pain of copyright infringement