A Patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process
that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical
solution to a problem.
Section 34 of the Industrial Property Act provides that a patent application may be filed
at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute.
The protection of a patent is limited for a period of 20 years from the date of filing.

Conditions to be met

The Patent must be:-

  • New or novel – must show some new characteristic which is not known in its
    technical field.
  • Non-obvious- must involve an inventive step, it could not be deduced by an
    average person in the technical field.
  • Capable of industrial application.
  • Part of “patentable subject matter” – plant varieties and inventions contrary to
    public order are deemed un-patentable vide section 26 (b) of the Industrial
    Property Act.

How to apply for a Patent

Visit the Kenya Industrial Property Institute offices with the following documents:

  1. A duly filled request form (Form IP3).
  2. A clear description of the invention- it should disclose the invention, and at least
    one mode for carrying it out. It should state the title of invention, specify the
    technical field to which the invention relates and how it is industrially applicable.
  3. One or more claims – this involves information that would determine the limit of
    protection that would be defined by the patent.
  4. One or more drawings of the invention (where necessary) – visual materials to
    understand the invention better.
  5. An abstract with the title and summary of technical details of the invention- the
    abstract should merely serve the purpose of providing technical information. It
    should have a summary of the disclosure included in the Description. The
    summary should indicate the technical field to which the invention relates, and
    its primary use (s).

Rules for applying for a patent

  1. The application should be in English.
  2. The application should be on durable white paper with a matt finish of an A4
  3. Each page of the application should be oriented with the short side at the top.
  4. Each page of the application, other than the request and the drawings, should have margins as follows;-
    i. top margin, 2.0 centimeters;
    ii. left margin, 2.5 centimeters;
    iii. right margin, 2.0 centimeters; and
    iv. Bottom margin, 2.0 centimeters (The margins should be completely blank).
    v. Only one side of each page of the application should be used.
    vi. The pages of the application should be bound.
    vii. The request, the description, the claim or claims, the drawing or drawings, and the abstract should start on a new page.
    viii. The application should be in triplicate.

The request, the description, claims and abstract, and the drawings should be
numbered centered at the top of the page.

Examples of Patents

  • Thomas Edison’s patent for the lightbulb;
  • The Wright Brothers patent for the flying machine;
  • Apple’s patent for the iPhone;
  • Jaap Haartsen’s patent for Bluetooth; and
  • Paul Marshall’s patent for invention of the Virtual Reality (VR) generator.
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