The Kenya Copyright board has partnered with Microsoft4Afrika to develop an online portal, IP Hub, that will allow creators of intellectual property ranging from musicians, innovators, developers, artists to creators to register it. The system is currently live for testing and review. Following the review and feedback phase, the system will be finalized and made available to all Kenyans. The new system is set to replace the procedures currently employed by Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), that involve downloading registration forms, paying via M-Pesa and submitting the forms at the KECOBO offices.
Microsoft4Afrika launched the IP Hub portal in June 2014 seeking to promote intellectual property protection. The system has now been officially handed over to KECOBO and will allow for the education of innovators on all aspects of intellectual property starting with 6 stage modules around intellectual property. Kenya is currently lagging behind in terms of patent fillings, with a report by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reporting only 383 patents between 2009 and 2012. Egypt had 683, South Africa with 608 while Ivory Coast with a mere 53 resident patent applications by inventors.
Users of the IP Hub will be required to pay a registration fee of Kshs. 1,000 with the service available in Huduma Centers across Kenya. KECOBO hopes simplifying the process and getting users to do it online will promote a stronger culture of IP protection. KECOBO sees IP HUB as a channel through which developers can monetize their apps, make them profitable and at the same time create job opportunities. Microsoft has previously partnered with KECOBO in the fight aganist privacy. The campaign involved programs and campaigns aimed at educating the public on risks and penalties of pirated software.