Utility Model Protection in Kenya: The Case for Substantive Examination

24 December 2016

The patent-granting authority of the Kenyan government ceased examining applications for utility model certificates (UMCs) in 2014, after 20 years of examination. This event resulted in an immediate and dramatic increase in the number of granted UMCs. The authors reviewed a selection of UMCs, some of which were granted after substantive examination and some of which were granted without substantive examination. Errors were found in both groups, and the overall quality of granted UMCs declined after cessation of substantive examination. The authors conclude that a return to substantive examination of UMC applications would, on balance, be beneficial to Kenya’s innovative ecosystem, and recommend that such examination be reinstated.