Quite recently we became aware that Little, one of the main players in the Kenya taxi hailing business launched on a name they could not trade with due to trademark violation. That of Little Cab. And that they had to move hastily to using Little. Easy speculation was that either they had the name earlier to trade with, or they were just hasty to grab the name after launch. Well, turns out the individuals behind Little Cab were just opportunistic, going by the words of the CEO.
Well, we were made aware that the individual behind the trade mark Little Cab requested for Kshs. 50 million for the name, something which didn’t go well with Craft Silicon. CEO Kamal Budhabatti who does not confirm this amount maintains that they originally registered Little Limited and no indication that they used Little Cab in the first place.
The correct position is that we are registered as Little Limited.
However people started adding Cab at the back of Little. Then some Kenyan saw this an opportunity, so he goes ahead and registers LittleCab, which if you go to KIPI web site, it is still not approved, but he has applied.
Mr. Kamal doesn’t consider it priority to spend resources getting the trade mark and prefers to concentrate on building the product. When a name is taken, an organization has an option to fight tooth and nail to get the preferred trade mark or move on with what’s available and build another brand. Craft Silicon prefers the latter.
I am an Entrepreneur, and that too a Techie. Do I put my energy on these issues where someone wants to make some quick bucks and creating a hassle, or you want us to focus on real work and grow our economy?
Craft Silicon did not only face a problem with the trade mark, as individuals also sought to make a quick buck to the tune of Kshs 300,000 for the domain littlecab.co.ke which was registered much later than other domains.
Here’s the thing; Little.bz and Little.co.ke are the domains that Little Limited uses for the taxi hailing company. I did a little homework and found out that Little.bz was registered on 12th March 2016 for Craft Silicon via registrar Network Solutions while Little.co.ke was registered on 16th June 2016 via registrar Safaricom. Littlecab.co.ke on the other hand was registered on 28th June for a Collins Otieno by registrar Imagine Brands Limited. 12 days later.
If you go by these facts then the narrative that the name was taken after Little Limited went into business makes sense. However Mr. Kamal does not clarify whether they did indeed apply to register the trade mark in time. He however wishes that the Kenya government would reign in on such individuals so entrepreneurs can be protected from opportunistic individuals out to make a quick buck.
I think government must have some laws against such things ….. However we are not going to worry too much about LittleCab. He can keep it, while we continue promoting our self as Little.
Kamal does not leave much to imagination about what to expect with regards to both the domain name and trade mark, so as much as they would have preferred it another way, they are not keen on losing money on the two.
We are happy with our name Little and the domain little.bz and little.co.ke. As I said, we are working extremely hard to ensure that we deliver a product that Kenyans are proud of. Let those guys who want to make some quick money continue trying. We wish them luck.