You now risk jail or Sh200,000 fine for using 'Kabarak' name without Moi's nod


Former president Daniel arap Moi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Individuals and firms marketing goods or services under the name “Kabarak” without permission from former president Daniel arap Moi face a jail term of up to five years and a fine of Sh200,000 or both.

This follows the granting of exclusive rights to the word borrowed from his home location of Kabarak — which is 22 kilometers from Nakuru town, to the former head of State.

The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (kipi) has issued a trademark to Mr Moi after an application by his lawyer Tom Ojienda.

A trademark is a distinctive sign used by a merchant to identify his goods or services and to distinguish them from those produced or provided by others.

Registration of a trademark protects the owner against misuse, imitation of its mark or dilution through use in unrelated goods or services.

Kabarak, which in Kalenjin means a high or elevated, is in Rongai constituency in Nakuru. The area MP is Raymond Moi, the former president’s son. Mr Moi owns Kabarak High School, Kabarak University and Kabarak farms.

According to Kipi Journal, Mr Moi applied for the trademark for 45 classes in 2016 and was granted the licences following no objection. But can anyone trademark the name of a town?

Kipi managing director Sylvance Sange said it is possible.

“Yes. One can register a geographical name so long as it has acquired distinctiveness with respect to the goods or services it is used in relation to and the goods or services are actually produced or offered in that geographic location,” said Mr Sange in an interview with the Business Daily.

The trademarking in all 45 classes means no class of goods and services can be offered under that name.

“Third parties are prevented from using or marketing similar goods or services having similar names or marks without the express permission of the trademark owner,” said Mr Sange.