A threat to Kenya’s heritage that could have destroyed the livelihood of many thousands of Kenyans has been averted by Traidcraft Exchange and law firm Watson Burton.
The Kikoy Company UK Ltd had sought to trade mark the term ‘kikoy’, the Kiswahili word for the colourful, wrap skirts worn by both men and women who live along the East African coast.
But now the company has decided not to proceed with its application in the face of opposition from Traidcraft Exchange, supported by the Newcastle office of national law firm Watson Burton.
“If the trade mark had been granted it would have given the company a virtual monopoly over the use of the term ‘kikoy’ in the UK,” said Rob Donnelly, Traidcraft’s East Africa Programme Manager.
“That would have been disastrous for the thousands of small businesses which depend on trade with the UK in this traditional cloth for their livelihoods. It would also have meant Kenyans would have lost the legal right to use a word from their own language.” Read more from the TraidCraft website