Bowmans (Coulson Harney LLP)

With a robust economic growth rate and a middle-class population of over 35 million, East Africa remains the destination of choice for investors seeking to expand operations into Africa. The entry of multiple brands into the region has made the ability to register and protect the rights that investors and clients obtain in their products, services and brands an essential component for success in the business environment.

Securing a knowledgeable and experienced legal adviser who understands the local complexities and has the appropriate track record to navigate the legal landscape is pivotal to this success. Working as one team coordinated across three jurisdictional offices (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), our unparalleled and dedicated East Africa IP practice handles:

  • IP litigation focusing on trademarks, patents, designs and copyright infringements;
  • multi-jurisdictional anti-counterfeiting actions, including raids;
  • trademark oppositions and expungement proceedings in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania;
  • designs and patent revocations;
  • brand migration advice;
  • IP due diligence;
  • franchising; and
  • competition and IP opinions.

We act for clients both locally and internationally under the Madrid and African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation systems of registration and help them with national protection in other countries worldwide through a network of associate agent law firms.

We operate across East Africa and are one of the largest trademark and patent filing practices in the East African Community. Our world-class team of IP lawyers is currently the largest Madrid filing practice in Kenya, having filed most Madrid applications originating from the country. We have handled trademark applications and searches in over 70 countries across all continents for local companies and individuals.

We are very strong in IP disputes and routinely handle complicated cases across East Africa, covering trademark litigation, passing off, design and patent infringement and trademark infringement. We have dealt with major disputes before the High Court and Court of Appeal. Our lawyers are well versed in IP litigation, oppositions and counterfeit raids.

Our commercial IP experience extends to large filing and renewal projects across sub-Saharan Africa for clients across the globe. We provide regulatory and compliance advice to international giants.

We also advise on franchising law, with expertise covering the full array of complex franchising transactional and litigation matters on behalf of franchisors and franchisees. We represent a wide variety of domestic and international clients from both the franchisor and franchisee side, helping them to efficiently and effectively preserve and enhance the value of their investments. As thought leaders in these specialised areas, we have authored various global publications on franchising, including the Kenyan chapter in the 2014 Franchising in Africa: Legal and Business Considerations textbook.

Our clients include leading multinationals from around the world within the financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare and technology, media and telecommunications sectors.

We have been ranked in the gold category in WTR 1000 for the past seven years and we are also ranked by Managing IP (tier 1 in trademark copyright and tier 2 in patent) for the past five years. We also won the 2015 IP Team of the Year award at the African Legal Awards hosted by Legal Week and the Corporate Lawyers Association. We are members of INTA, the International Federation of Industrial Property Attorneys and the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance, an alliance of lawyers located throughout the world with expertise and experience in advertising, marketing and promotion law.

Contact details

Bowmans (Coulson Harney LLP)
Fifth Floor
ICEA Lion Centre
West Wing
Riverside Park
Chiromo Road
Nairobi 1064

Professional contacts

Other offices

  • Addis Ababa
  • Cape Town
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Durban
  • Johannesburg
  • Kampala
  • Moka
  • Nairobi

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