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Global IP award for Bowmans in Kenya

17 January 2017 | Intellectual Property

World Trademark Review 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals has awarded a gold ranking to the Intellectual Property (IP) team at Bowmans in Kenya for the fifth consecutive year. The WTR 1000 is considered the definitive resource for those that seek legal trademark expertise. This year’s publication identifies the trademark industry’s leading lights in 72 jurisdictions around the world. The WTR 1000 recommends whom they consider to be the best of the trademark scene and only those delivering top-quality services make the cut. 

The WTR 1000 commends John Syekei, a partner in the Bowmans Kenya IP Practice, saying, “Dynamo John Syekei is in charge here. He earns praise for getting things done quickly and to the highest standard, and his results speak for themselves. He draws a great deal of support from senior associate David Opijah, an IP, technology, data privacy and e-commerce expert with impressive contentious and transactional nous.”

John Syekei says there has been a rapid increase in the number of major IP disputes finding their way into Kenyan courts in recent times. He adds that while many of these have been trademark disputes, there is an increasing number of complex trade secrets, unfair competition, passing off and design disputes being filed by local and foreign corporates.

Mr Syekei explains, “The growth in IP litigation matters can be attributed to the fact that local and foreign IP owners are now confident that they can get well-reasoned judgments from local courts. In addition, the increase in investment by local and foreign corporates, as well as the increase in competition driven by a strong economic growth in the East African region, means that owners of IP assets are taking all the necessary measures to prevent infringement and enforce their IP assets.

Enforcement briefs, which are contentious matters where the owner of an IP asset goes to court, for instance, to obtain injunctive orders against an infringer, are keeping us busy. There is also plenty of anti-counterfeit work arising out of an increase in counterfeit goods entering the Kenyan market. A trend we have seen is out of court settlement of disputes. In fact, we have successfully obtained large settlement awards on behalf of a number of our clients arising out of these disputes.”

According to the WTR 1000, “The Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group – which included Nairobi’s Coulson Harney among its members – rebranded as Bowmans in September 2016; operating under one name makes sense for the well-integrated set-up, which has become a trusted pan-African partner for corporate and institutional clients. Its classy, award-winning Kenyan IP team provides commercially infused trademark guidance in any situation and maintains one of the busiest practices on the market.”

“It recently handled notable High Court suits for Diageo and Nairobi Java House which ultimately decided crucial points of trademark law; it also moved swiftly to prevent continued infringements of brands owned by Disney, including those of Marvel.”

Bowmans Chairman and Senior Partner Robert Legh adds, “This is a great achievement, once again, for John and his team.  Our firm is described as well integrated, and trusted. This endorsement is proof that we are achieving our goal of being the leading pan-African law firm on the continent by adding real value to our clients’ businesses on the continent.”