The Management of Patent Information in Kenya
Joshua Nyakundi and Dr. Nathan Mnjama
This article looks at the management of patent information at the Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPO) registry. Questionnaires, interviews and personal observations were the main tools used to gather data for this study. The major findings are that patent records at KIPO are not well-managed and organized, and access to patent information is problematic. The identified creators of patent information were industrialists, small and medium enterprises, scientists, researchers and herbalists. The article discovered that the major users of patent information are patent examiners. Potential users of patent information were identified to include industrial enterprises, private inventors, research and development institutions, universities and government authorities. The study recommends that KIPO carry out a vigorous marketing strategy for promoting patent information. It also recommends the establishment of a selection committee to coordinate the selection process of library materials. Reformatting activities such as photocopying, microfilming and digitization are also recommended as possible ways of preserving patent records. Finally, training of records staff on good management practices and information communication technology skills is encouraged through in-house and external training.
It is well understood that property is that which is owned by a person, whether natural or legal. Property is that which can be sold (assigned), leased (licensed, developed (exploited) or mortgaged and is usually enforced by law. Property is classified into two types, namely: tangible and intangible property. Intellectual property is so called because it arises from human intellect - it is a product of human creation, an idea that can only be protected upon expression (Phillips, 1986). However, intangible property, which constitutes intellectual property (IP), is not well understood in Africa and thus is highly unutilized. According to Moahi (2004) intellectual property rights are meant to reward, recognize and encourage innovation and creativity. They bestow upon the recipients the right to profit from their innovation and the right to contest against anyone who appropriates their rights.
According to Fink (2000), intellectual property rights (IPRs) form the basis for scientific and economic development because they offer an incentive to someone, either individuals or organizations, to invest time and knowledge in research activities. Investors are given the right to derive monopoly profits, which means that only they are allowed to exploit their invention during a certain period of time. As a consequence, this executive right has to be legally enforceable. Admittedly, the effect of IPRs depends on various economic variables such as the social value or the existence of substitutes. As Messner (1997) points out, knowledge is accessible very easily once information is published. This makes it basically a public good.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of 1994, provides for a worldwide uniform system for the protection of IPRs (WTO, 2001). Messner (1997:10) states that on 1 January 1996 this agreement came into force with the concession of transitional periods of five and ten years for developing and least–developed countries, respectively. TRIPs cover a number of different IPR instruments, which include: copyright and related rights; trademarks; geographical indications; industrial designs; and patents.
In order to enhance and promote the creation and utilization of patent information in Africa, the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) was established in Harare, Zimbabwe on 9 December 1976. The organization is responsible for the following: modernization, harmonization and development of industrial property laws of its member states; fostering the establishment of close relationships between the member states in matters relating to industrial property rights; establishment of common services or organs for the coordination, harmonization and development of industrial activities affecting its members; the promotion and evolution of a common view and approach to industrial matters; and assisting its members in the acquisition and development of technology relating to industrial property (ARIPO, 1994). The organization administers two treaties, namely, the Lusaka Agreement on the Creation of African Regional Industrial Property Organization since 9 December 1976 and the Harare Protocol on the Grant and Registration of Patent and Industrial Design within the framework of ARIPO since 24 October 1994 (ARIPO, 1994).
Historical background to patent information in Kenya
Prior to the coming into force of the Kenya Industrial Property Act, the regulation of patents in Kenya was carried out by the Department of the Registrar General, a department within the office of the Attorney General. At that time Kenya had a system that was wholly dependant on the British patent system. The Patent Registration Act that was in force in pre–independence Kenya lasted for several years without any amendments. The Act basically facilitated the import and use of foreign intellectual property for investment in Kenya, especially for British nationals. The first patent in Kenya was registered on 21 December 1914. The British patent system played the following roles: it supported Kenya by maintaining a close link with the British patent regulations which had no provision for Kenyan needs such as the protection of the rights of Kenya’s industrial property owners and it protected the rights of the British nationals who were patent holders in Kenya. It had nothing to do with the evaluation of patentable works which could be created in Kenya (Ondieki, 2000).
From the above, it is clear that the Act was British centered and had no provision for Kenyan technological information. Thus to get rid of the British bias in the Act, the Kenya Industrial Property Act (Cap 509 of the Laws of Kenya) was passed in 1989. The enactment of this legislation also led to the establishment of the Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPO), in 1990 through Government Gazette Notice No. 95 of 2 February 1990. The Act provides for the promotion of inventive and innovative activities and facilitates the acquisition of technology through the grant and regulation of patents, utility models, industrial designs and rationalization models. The purpose of the office is to administer the Act under the supervision of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Administratively, KIPO is headed by a Director who is answerable to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry. The Director is responsible for the overall control, co-ordination and administration of the Office. The Director exercises the powers and performs the duties assigned by the two Acts, namely, the Industrial Property Act (Cap. 509) and Trademark Act (Cap.506) of the Laws of Kenya, and is responsible for their administration.
The Kenya Industrial Property Office has three departments:
- Administration Department, which is headed by the Chief Administrative Secretary . This department has three sections, i.e. General Administration, Finance and Personnel.
- Technical Department, which is headed by the Deputy Director, Technical Services. This department has the following sections; Mechanical/Civil Engineering, Biomedical Services, Computer Services and Documentation and Information Section.
- Legal Department, which is headed by a Deputy Director Legal Services. This department has the Trademark and Service Mark Section and the Legal Section (Laws of Kenya Cap. 509).
The main functions of the Kenya Industrial Property Office, as stipulated in Cap. 509 of the Laws of Kenya are:
- granting of original industrial property rights;
- screening of technology transfer agreements and licenses;
- promoting inventiveness and innovativeness in Kenya;
- acting as a receiving office for international patent applications filed in accordance with Patent Co–operation Treaty (PCT) as well as African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) applications for patents and industrial designs; and,
- Instituting infringement proceedings in relation to utility models on behalf of the owners of such utility models.
The Kenya Industrial Property Office works closely with:
- Department of the Registrar General, deals with matters relating to infringement of copyright;
- Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate which deals with the protection of plant variety;
- Kenya Bureau of Standards which ensures that all goods are of a certain standard before being allowed to enter into the local market;
- the Police Department which seizes infringed goods and arrest the offenders and eventually arraign them in court of law;
- the Custom Department which stops entry of infringed works and provides effective border measures that stops infringing works from entering the local market;
- the Department of Weights and Measures, has the duty to ensure that the works imported or released into the channels of commerce are adequately described and what is described is contained in the package.;
Kenya is a member of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) based in Geneva, Switzerland. It has signed and ratified several treaties. These include the convention establishing the WIPO in 1971) The Paris convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883, Nairobi Treaty on Protection of the Olympic Symbol in 1981, Convention of Protection of Phonographs against Unauthorized Publication in 1976, Convention relating to the Programs Carrying Signal Transmitted by Satellites in 1979, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works on 12 February 1886 and Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) of 1970 administered by WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland in 1994 (WIPO, 1987) Kenya is also a member of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) based in Harare, Zimbabwe .
Statement of the problem
A study carried out by Ogada (2000) on Intellectual Property Rights for Universities and Research and Development (R&D) Institutions in African countries established that research has to be carried out on the management of intellectual property rights in the developing countries with regard to the collection, storage, dissemination of patent information and the problems associated with it. The management of patents entails various activities including creating awareness on the importance of patents and the role of the Patent Office, receiving applications from the potential inventors, filing of the patent specification together with the necessary forms and application fees and verifying their completeness. The management of patents is largely dependent upon the efficient and effective execution of all the above-mentioned steps. Although KIPO has endeavored to put in place procedures to enhance the patenting of new inventions, it still faces a number of challenges.
The first challenge relates to the small number of patents applied and issued in Kenya (KIPO Annual Reports between 1990 and 2003). This may be attributed to the amount of fees charged by KIPO which are considered to be rather on the higher side for ordinary citizens. For instance, the amount charged for filing and processing patent applications is KSh 3,000 (US$43), Searching fee KSh 2,000 (US$29), Examination fee KSh 5,000 (US$72), Registration fee KSh 3,000 (US$43), Publication fee KSh 3,000 (US$43), and maintenance fee of between KSh 2,000-5,000 (US$29--$43) (Kenya Industrial Property Regulations 2001). Furthermore the time taken to process applications is obviously long. Very often the applicants complain that it takes too long to have their applications processed (Ndirangu, 2000). The issue of skills and competencies of the staff charged with the responsibility of managing patent information at the Kenya Industrial Property Office also has impacted negatively on the management and use of patent information in the country. Although KIPO has a number of professional staff (examiners, librarians, computer programmers and legal officers&$041;, quite often their deployment and allocation of responsibilities tends not to be in areas that can benefit the management of patent information (WIPO 1987). In addition, registry staff who are directly responsible for filing and management patent records lack the necessary skills and competencies in records and information management which are key to proper maintenance and care of these records, including patent records.
Storage and maintenance of patent records is yet another problematic area at KIPO. Patent records and related information at KIPO are maintained in two separate areas - the patent registry where restricted patents are stored and in the library where patents available to the public are held. These units have limited space and inadequate facilities resulting in congestion and poor standard of maintenance. This problem has been compounded by the huge backlog of non-patent literature which has accumulated in the library over time, most of which has not been technically processed. The dissemination of patent–related information in Kenya is still an issue of concern. KIPO's outreach programme is in its nascent stage and its impact is yet to be felt in educating the public on patent information available at KIPO to enable them utilize it. Most people are unaware of what can be patented and the criteria for patentability. The absence of a patent information policy at KIPO has also been noticed to be a challenge, hindering effective management of patent information in Kenya.
As a result of these challenges, the aim of this study was to critically examine the management of patent information at KIPO and to make recommendations for their effective collection, storage, maintenance and utilization. Specifically this study had the following objectives:
- to identify patent records available at the center;
- to find out how selection, acquisition and classification of patent records is carried out;
- to examine their storage conditions;
- to assess the methods of organization and retrieval of patent information;
- to explore the current channels of disseminating patent information in Kenya;
- to identify the creators of patent information in the country;
- to identify the users of patent information in the country; and,
- to make recommendations on the future management of patent information in the country.
A case study research method was employed to conduct research at the Kenya Industrial Property Office. Since the research project was based on the management of patent information at KIPO) the population for this study comprised of 86 members of KIPO staff who are responsible for storage, retrieval, publicity and dissemination of patent records (information) in Kenya. These included the Director, the Deputy Directors, Public Relations Officer, Patent Examiners, Librarians, and Clerical officers. The population was identified by use of the staff establishment register. The reason for selecting the staff of Kenya Industrial Property Office is because it was the only government agency charged with the management of patent information in Kenya. Questionnaires were distributed to 20 clerical officers working in the patent registry and interviews were carried out with two Librarians, 30 Patent Examiners and four Directors working in the department, making the percentage rate to be 65 percent of the overall population. Two sets of interview–guides were designed and distributed. The first set was used to interview the Public Relation Officer. The focus here was to collect information related to training of staff, preservation of patent records and disaster preparedness at KIPO for the interview schedule with the Public Relations Officer.
The second set of interview guides was used to interview librarians and the focus here was to collect data related to type of literature housed at KIPO library, sources of the documents, users of patent information in Kenya, problems encountered in disseminating patent information, tools used to retrieve patent information and channels for dissemination of patent information, problems encountered and their remedies. The interview instrument was employed because of uniformity and it allowed the researcher to clarify ambiguous questions, thus improving accuracy of both questions and responses. It also provided higher quality information that was freer from bias than any other instrument and it allowed greater interviewer–interviewee interaction.
The researchers also reviewed relevant documentary sources. This included journals, books, reports, bulletins, brochures, manuals and other published literature. These sources were useful in giving data on historical background and on ideal situation and practices of patent information management. The following information was searched through document analysis:
- origin of Kenya Industrial Property Office;
- the functions of the Kenya Industrial Property Office;
- job descriptions of employees dealing with patent information in Kenya;
- problems related to the creation, storage and dissemination of patent records;
- titles and names of key inventors or creators of patent information in Kenya;
- the kind of database used for patent records storage, rules for processing data, principles by which the organization operates that must been enforced by the information system;
- the use of International Patent Classification in classifying patent applications; and,
- the value of patent in economic development.
The researchers also used on-spot observations. The areas observed were the registries, the Library and the Patent Information and Documentation Center. The researchers used this methodology because it consumed less time, was easier to use and it took place in a natural setting. The researcher was keen to observe the arrangement of patent and non-patent literature (documents held in the library and the registry), storage conditions, reading environment and retrieval tools available. This method gave evidence of the management practices and provided back up for personal interviews.
In the area of records creation the study discovered that active creators of patent information in Kenya are industrialists, small and medium enterprises, scientists and, to a small extent, herbalists. It is clear from the findings that Kenyan applicants for patents in the last ten years are less than half of the foreign applicants. The reason is that the process of applying for patent protection is expensive and time consuming. Another reason is that publicity of patent information has not been effective and many people are unaware of patent records and the functions of KIPO.
This study also sought to find out what types of patent records are available at KIPO. The study revealed that patent records available fall into eight fields, the largest being the field of human related activities. The other fields include: operations; chemistry; textile; constructions; mechanical; physics and electrical. It was found that the eight fields cover all the areas of technology, science and arts. This study recommends that KIPO as a Patent Office should include the field of traditional knowledge and medicine which is a major component of the practices of the indigenous and local communities to be registered.
Arrangement and storage of patent records
In the area of records storage and environmental conditions for patent records at KIPO, the study revealed that the department experiences several problems which include:
- Lack of compliance with acceptable standards pertaining to records management, especially in terms of record creation and maintenance. Materials of any quality are used with very little control of the storage environment. Records are scattered in available space without due reference to suitability. The handling and care of patent records needs major improvement. To secure records for the future, this study recommends that they must not only be created on durable materials, but they must be stored in suitable conditions as stipulated in such standards as ISO 11799 (Document storage requirements for archive and library materials) and ASTM D 3208-86 (Standard Specification for Manifold Papers for Permanent Records). The old adage "catch them young" comes in handy and should be the key phrase for the Directors, Patent Examiners, Librarians, records managers and patent information users at KIPO in order to salvage the situation.
- The study has also shown that KIPO is using some standard storage equipment such as open metal shelves, wooden shelves, steel drawer cabinets and wooden cabinets. The only problem with this equipment is that they are untidy, dusty, old and most of them are unlockable. This study recommends that this equipment should be well–maintained and serviced regularly.
- The study has also revealed that KIPO lacks a post of a qualified records manager. This study recommends the establishment of a post of records manager who will be responsible for the management, storage and retrieval of patent records. Moreover, the study has observed that storage especially for patent information is inadequate. This study recommends that suitable storage space for patent records and patent keepers be provided.
- The study has also indicated that patent records in the registry are currently arranged on the shelves in a numerical order and certificate numbers are written on the shelves to guide the users. Most of these are ignored and only resorted to when there is need to refer to them. This study recommends that patent documents should be stored in drawer cabinets and open shelves and arranged according to the IPC number and the country. Patents of one family should be stored together in either a drawer cabinet or open shelf arranged according to IPC and filed in a numerical order within each sub-group. Abstracts should be glued or copied on a large sheet before storing them in box files.
- This study further revealed that most of the patent records are stored in paper files and bound volumes. This study recommends that since paper occupies a lot of space, there is need for more of electronic storage methods like CD-ROM and microfilm. As KIPO is currently automating its activities, automation of patent records should be given priority. Automation will make the operations of the library and patent registry easier, faster and more efficient resulting in increased user satisfaction.
In the Library Section the study revealed that the Library collection is made up of patent documents and non–patent documents. Patent documents include abstracts and journals. The abstracts comprise of Korean Patent and Trademarks Abstracts, Australian Patent and Trademark Abstracts and European Patent and Trademark Abstracts. The journals include the Official Journal of Patents, Patent and Trademark Journal,,Patent and Industrial Design Journal, World Directory Journal, Industrial Property Monthly Journal and expired patent information documents. For non-patent documents, the materials include general books on such areas as biology, chemistry, physics, electrical, engineering, computer science, human resource management and dictionaries. The Library also contains scientific newsletters, laws of Kenya, conference proceedings, seminar papers and general works on intellectual property.
Sources of the documents
The study sought to establish the sources of the Library collections stored in the KIPO library. The respondents indicated that most patent documents were donated by patent offices worldwide while most of the non-documents were purchased locally from various book shops in Nairobi. Some of the international patent offices which donate patent documents to KIPO library include:
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO);
- African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO);
- European Patent Office (EPO);
- Korean Patent Office (KPO); and,
- Australian Patent Office (APO).
Moreover, the study revealed that the acquisition of patent documents within KIPO is based on the expiry date. Those records that have expired (usually after 20 years) are collected from the registry and placed in the Library for public use. As regards the selection of published materials, the study revealed that JOPAL - the Journal of Patent Association Literature and price lists published by WIPO and ARIPO are used to identify patent documents published in other countries. The study further revealed that the main problems faced in the selection process are inadequate selection tools, lack of effective communication within the selection process, and inadequate funds.
The study further revealed that the actual ordering and purchase of Library materials is done by the librarians with the assistance of the supplies section. The order lists are prepared in triplicate. The originals are sent to the suppliers, a second copy is forwarded to the Chief Librarian and the third copy is filed in the supplies file at KIPO. The main problem with this procedure is the long delay due to the problem of foreign exchange and inadequate funds. Other documents are acquired directly from the inventors, through purchase or donors or the creators.
The findings of this study tally with the findings of Aina (2004) who asserts that acquisition of library materials is done through purchase, donations, exchanges and legal deposits. Like most libraries, purchase is by far the most common way of acquiring library materials. While this may be the case, the findings of this study indicate that donation is the major source of acquiring library materials rather than purchase (KIPO Annual Report, 2001-2003*. This clearly shows that KIPO Patent Library receives donations and gifts from worldwide patent offices. Sometimes the Library makes requests to individual patent offices and other organizations.
From the above analysis it is evident that the acquisition of information resources for the KIPO Library is a shared responsibility between the Library and the supplies section.
Users of patent information in KenyaIt is a known fact that every individual, whether literate or illiterate, has information needs which could be for recreation, leisure, or meeting tasks that are considered critical to his or her survival. For this reason, the study sought to find out who were the actual users of patent information at the KIPO Library. Discussions with the librarians suggest that potential users of patent information stored at KIPO are industrial enterprises and private investors, research and development (R&D), universities and government authorities.
Channels of disseminating patent information to users
The study also sought to find out the specific channels used to disseminate patent information to potential users. The study revealed that some of the channels used include:
- publications, for example the KIPO newsletter The Inventor;
- brochures and leaflets;
- participation at exhibitions such as the Nairobi International Shows, the student congress; and,
- occasional use of electronic media such as the Kenya Broadcasting programmes "The Professional View" and "Good Morning Kenya."
The finding of this study agrees with the study done by Kemoni (2002) on the utilization of archival materials by researchers in Kenya where he found that archival personnel used publications, lectures , exhibitions and occasional use of the media in promoting the use of archival information among researchers.
To further improve the dissemination of patent information in Kenya, KIPO needs to:
- Undertake visits to industries, research institutes and the universities to sensitize them about the functions and services offered by the office.
- Attend shows, exhibitions and trade fairs. The study suggests that the department should participate at national and international shows and carry out technology scouting at all other Agricultural Society of Kenya shows.
- Hold seminars, workshops and conferences with users and inventors. The first one should be internally designed to provide a forum at which the KIPO staff exchange information gathered from various workshops attended locally and abroad.
- Use of mass media. KIPO should use print media to sensitize the public about its functions/services and also the main activities taking place within KIPO. These should take form of supplements and advertisements in the daily papers. On the other hand, KIPO officers should take part in the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation talk shows like the "Professional View" and "Good Morning Kenya," where they will use the chance to inform the general public about their operations. The Office should also make use of the Internet which has proved to be a fast growing medium of transmitting information.
- Participate in students' congresses on science and technology at district and national levels.
- Compilation of a bibliography on patents. The bibliography will be important to the users and inventors since they will know what is available. The bibliography will also act as a selection tool for the patent information and documentation center.
- Provision of Current Awareness Services (CAS) such as photocopying and distribution of content pages of various journals should be introduced at KIPO.
- Apart from issuing documents at the circulation desk, this study recommends that selective dissemination of information (SDI) should be used as a means of disseminating patent information whereby newly or latest received information would be delivered to the users on a regular basis. Also facsimile transmission of patent information and access to databases should be established. These are very fast methods of disseminating patent information and this can ensure that information is always current and up-to-date.
- The study further recommends that translation services be introduced at KIPO. This is because the users need some publications written in languages other than English.
Disaster preparedness and security
Disaster preparedness and security are important activities central to the preservation and protection of patent records. Respondents were therefore asked whether they had a disaster preparedness plan in place. . The respondents were unaware of such plans, arguing that there was limited training about disaster preparedness at KIPO. However, the respondents were aware of the disasters that are likely to befall the department. These included fire, flood, mutilation through vandalism or mob action, and theft from employees and other users.
This confirms the findings carried out in Ghana by Akussah (2001) that most of the institutions did not have disaster preparedness plans. These are pointers that KIPO has to do more to get ready for disaster preparedness. In a patent office where electronic documents are highly used, there is need for backups for electronic information. This study recommends that KIPO records storage areas should be purpose built, taking into account suitable architectural and structural designs and that regular building maintenance inspections should be done in order to detect potential disasters quickly and prevent them from occurring. The use of disaster prevention devices like smoke detectors, fire alarms, intruder alarms, fire fighting devices and fireproof cabinets should be encouraged. There should also be adequate training and orientation for staff and patrons in disaster management and occasional refresher programmes to update staff on new developments and new technologies in disaster management.
Computerization of KIPO patent records
The study sought to find out how computerization of KIPO activities could affect the staff in terms of accessing the patent information. The study revealed that KIPO is currently automating some of its activities. This study therefore recommends that the computerization programme be extended to include library and records management operations.
Role of Kenya National Archives
The Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services is the only government institution vested with the responsibility of ensuring that records are well managed, in accordance with acceptable record keeping practices. This study therefore sought to determine if the Department had played any role in the management of patent records. The findings of this study indicate that Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services (KNADS) has not been able to carry out its responsibilities effectively as far as the management of patent records is concerned. Therefore this study recommends that KNADS be invited by KIPO to come and offer professional advice on the effectiveness management of patent record–keeping practices.
Financial resources for KIPO information related activities
Adequate provision of financial resources is a pre–requisite for the efficient and effective operation of an information centre. This study therefore sought to establish whether adequate resources are available to meet the information services provided by the patents office. As indicated elsewhere in this study, one of the major causes of poor patent information management is inadequate finance. For instance, it takes a long time for expenses for promotional activities to be approved because all the decisions have to be passed through a long process. Moreover. the study also revealed that there are insufficient funds for training needs of the KIPO staff, to purchase selection and processing tools, and for acquisition of basic patent literature from foreign patent offices. Lack of funds has also led to the shortage of storage space, lack of storage equipment and poor storage environment. This study recommends that the Director of KIPO should lobby the government to increase its budgetary allocations to KIPO especially with regard to advertising and publicity to enable the patent information and documentation center, the library and patent registry to carry out their programmes as planned without being constrained by financial resources.
Staff training and development
The study has shown that existing patent records staff do not have records management skills for managing paper records. It is therefore recommend that training be provided for the existing records staff to prepare them for good records management. The training should focus on good management practices and IT skills. Such training can be conducted through in-house workshops and seminars or through formal training in records management schools such as the Kenya Polytechnic, Kenya School of Professional Studies, Sigalagala Polytechnic, Moi University, University of Nairobi or abroad. Moreover, it is recommended that the Librarian be offered professional development courses to enable him to keep abreast of recent developments. The need to acquire competencies in information retrieval skills can be reinforced by the fact that librarians need to train their patrons in modern information retrieval strategies particularly the use of the Internet, World Wide Web, both online and offline electronic databases and many more.
It is further suggested that training should not be done in an ad hoc manner as it is the case at present. Rather, it should be appropriate to the individual staff member’s position and needs of KIPO. There should be a more imaginative training policy that balances the needs of the organization and the capabilities of individual. This will ensure that after training the individual will be able to apply his knowledge and skills. This will greatly reduces the level of frustration that is presently being experiences by trained members of staff.
Patent information is a very important resource in national development. The progress of a country depends very much on the provision of patent information at the right time. This calls for an effective management of patent information resource in the areas of selection, acquisition, classification, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and dissemination of patent information in order to meet the needs of the users. There is also need for qualified patent information personnel to perform the above mentioned functions. Sufficient funding is quite important to support these activities. The study has further revealed that the current state of patent information management at KIPO faces many challenges from creation, maintenance, storage, retrieval, dissemination, preservation and conservation and disaster preparedness and security. The establishment of a patent records management programme at KIPO is therefore strongly recommended. This will help to maintain appropriate control over the records throughout the organization, as well as eradicate poor storage, ineffective retrieval and space problem.
Aina, L.O. (2004) Library and Information Science Text for Africa. Ibadan: Third World Information Services Limited.
Akussah, H. (2002) "Records Management and Preservation in Government Ministries and Departments in Ghana,;" African Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science, 12, no. 2: 155-165.
Fink, C. (2000) Intellectual Property Rights, Market Structure and Transnational Corporations in Developing Countries. Berlin: Mensch-Buch-Verlag.
Kemoni, N.H. (2002). "The Utilization of Archival Information by Researchers in Kenya: A Case Study of the University of Nairobi," African Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science 12, no. 1: 69-80.
Kenya Government (2000) The Kenya Industrial Property Act Cap 509, Section 3. (Kenya Gazette, Supplement No. 75.) Nairobi: Government Printer.
Messener, K.L. (1997) Intellectual Property: A Powerful Tool for Economic Growth. Geneva: WIPO.
Moahi, K. (2004) "Copyright in the Digital Age and Some Implications for Indigenous Knowledge," African Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science 14, no.1: 1-14.
Mnjama, N. and M. Tali (2003) "Information Audit: A case study of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)," unpublished MLIS Thesis, University of Botswana.
Ndirangu, K. (2000) "Intellectual Property Health; Kenya Patent Review," at http:--www.allafrica.com-stories2000.0223226, accessed 20 April, 2004.
Ogada, T.P.M. (2000) "Intellectual Property Policies for Universities and Management of Intellectual Property Rights. The Need for and Practical Examples of Intellectual Property Policies," paper presented at a Regional Seminar on Benefits of the Intellectual Property Systems for Universities, Researchers and Research and Development (R&D) Organizations, Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania (20-22 June 2000).
Ondieki, L.S. (2000) The Legislation of Patents in Kenya. Nairobi: KIPO.
WIPO (1987) The First Twenty-Five Years of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Geneva: WIPO.
WTO (2001) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Geneva: WIPO.
About the Authors
Joshua Nyakundi is Librarian 1 at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute.
Dr. Nathan Mnjama is Senior Lecturer at the University of Botswana.
©2007 Joshua Nyakundi and Dr. Nathan Mnjama.