Safaricom got a temporary court order against an IT firm’s use of the Okoa Stima trademark and name, which the tech company uses to describe mobile-based electricity soft loans similar to another offered by the telco.
Safaricom had asked the High Court to stop Colour Planet from using the Okoa Stima name, arguing that the IT firm is infringing on its trademark and ownership rights.
Colour Planet has successfully registered the Okoa Stima name as a trademark at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (Kipi).
The two firms have since July last year battled in court over the name. Colour Planet sued Safaricom claiming rights to the name. Safaricom has now countersued the firm seeking exclusive ownership to the Okoa Stima name.
Safaricom claims that Colour Planet has been calling some of the telco’s business partners claiming to be the bonafide owner of the Okoa Stima trademark.
Justice Farah Amin temporarily stopped Colour Planet from using the name to hear arguments from both parties then give further directions.
“Colour Planet is hereby forbidden from interfering with any contracts the plaintiff has under the banner Okoa Stima, suggesting to any third party that Safaricom does not have the right to use the name Okoa Stima.
Safaricom is to serve a copy of the order to the Registrar of Trademarks. The Registrar of Trademarks shall ensure a representative attends that hearing,” Justice Amin ordered.
Under Safaricom’s Okoa Stima facility, electricity consumers get credit of between Sh100 and Sh2,000 to settle power bills, which is repaid at an upfront flat charge of 10 per cent of the borrowed amount. Defaulters are charged a penalty of 10 per cent on the advance.
Safaricom says in court filings that it opposed Colour Planet’s registration of the Okoa Stima trademark but that its appeal was dismissed on a technicality.
In a separate suit last year, Colour Planet claimed it came up with the name as part of an electricity purchase software it had developed and even introduced to Kenya Power. The firm enjoined Kenya Power and a Safaricom employee, Julia Obura, in that suit.
Safaricom now says it registered the Okoa Stima trademark in March last year, prior to which it conducted a search which showed that nobody had used the name before.