Commentators report that trademarks in Kenya are increasingly being filed through the Madrid system. While this may be eating into local practitioners’ workloads, any shortfall is more than made up for by the economic vibrancy of East Africa, whose commercial heart is undoubtedly Nairobi.


Anjarwalla & Khanna
CFL Advocates
Hamilton Harrison & Mathews
Anjarwalla & Khanna
Corporate and commercial force Anjarwalla & Khanna showcases a deft touch on all manner of protection, enforcement and transactional IP matters, securing its first inclusion in the WTR 1000 this year. As part of the Africa Legal Network, it has forged excellent connections across the continent, allowing it to seamlessly coordinate multi-jurisdictional protection programmes; several clients have capitalised on this recently, including Maarifa Education and Al Rama International. At a domestic level, the set does a top job managing the Kenyan portfolios of Crown Beverages (a Kenyan company acquired by SABMiller) and downstream petroleum company Libya Oil Kenya, among many others. High Court advocate and commercial lawyer Anne Kiunuhe has extensive IP know-how and heads the practice with aplomb.

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. 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.

CFL Advocates
General commercial outfit CFL has a well-rounded IP practice which has grown significantly in recent years. Pitching its trademark advice at just the right level and famed for the speed with which it works, it is a cost-efficient yet reliable option for brand owners. Those with protection and enforcement concerns across East Africa are in capable hands with Lorna Mbatia, who captains the corporate/commercial and IP law sections. The easily accessible and responsive practitioner gets stuck into the day-to-day task of protecting clients’ trademarks, but also engages with the international trademark scene as an active participant in various societies and associations.
Hamilton Harrison & Mathews
Hamilton Harrison & Mathews is one of the oldest and largest business law firms in Kenya. Active across all practice areas and industries, there is nothing that it cannot handle, making it a popular first port of call for brand owners seeking an efficient one-stop shop. Having practised in the field for many years, it has a strong foundation in intellectual property and a particular knack for managing large portfolios and high-volume registration, renewal and assignment projects. “Diligent, thorough, responsive and proactive in making strategy proposals”, is the verdict of foreign associates. Daniel Wanjau Muriu keeps the focus on accuracy and quality in his role as head of the IP division. The set dispatches high-level contentious briefs with utmost proficiency, too, thanks in large part to Client Choice awardwinner Kiragu Kimani, one of the country’s most experienced advocates. Reinforcements arrived in April 2016, when internationally educated and trained rising IP star Peter Kamero joined from MMC Africa. Iseme, Kamau & Maema stands out for its smooth management of East African trademark protection matters; clients such as Coca-Cola can run everything through it with complete confidence and avoid the headache of dealing with multiple firms in the region. Other distinguishing features include lightning-fast turnaround times – made possible by sophisticated internal systems and processes – and a deep level of wide-ranging IP expertise. William Ikutha Maema is a premier trademark practitioner with outstanding substantive legal knowledge and a high degree of international commercial awareness. He heads the IP practice and runs a team of dexterous associates, which includes WTR 1000 newcomer Christine Njau. Her meticulous approach to managing large-scale prosecution campaigns is much appreciated.
Kaplan & Stratton Advocates
No other Kenyan firm has as much experience in intellectual property as Kaplan & Stratton. The trademark pioneer has done well to protect its early advantage and remains an elite player in the region. It offers top-drawer brand prosecution and enforcement services, but has valuable know-how in ancillary areas which many domestic competitors lack; these include IP transactions, advertising, data protection and data privacy. In Peter Hime, the firm has the country’s foremost IP mind. Also sitting on a deep bench of talent are licensing and all-round IP and business law veteran Sam Wainaina and anti-counterfeiting and general trademark sage Patrick Ikimire.


Peter J Hime - Kaplan & Stratton Advocates
William Ikutha Maema - Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates
John Syekei - Bowmans Coulson Harney
James Gichachi - Gichachi & Company Advocates
Patrick Ikimire - Kaplan & Stratton Advocates
Peter Kamero - Hamilton Harrison & Mathews
Kiragu Kimani - Hamilton Harrison & Mathews
Anne Kiunuhe - Anjarwalla & Khanna
Lorna Mbatia - CFL Advocates
Bernard Murunga - Simba & Simba Advocates
Christine Njau - Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates
Eliot Njoroge - Ndungu Njoroge & Kwach Advocates
David Opijah - Bowmans Coulson Harney
Sam Wainaina - Kaplan & Stratton Advocates
Daniel Wanjau Muriu - Hamilton Harrison & Mathews

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Issue 70