Kenyan law firm bags prestigious ranking

May 7, 2012
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IKM Partners: (L-R) Martin Munyu, Anne Kinyanjui, James Mburu Kamau, William Ikutha Maema, Karori Kamau
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – One of Kenya’s fastest growing corporate law firms, Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates, has sealed yet another feather on its cap after being named as one of the top 1000 global law firms in the specialised intellectual property space.

In a rare professional recognition, Iseme Kamau & Maema (IKM) Advocates has been ranked in the second edition of the authoritative World Trademark Review 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals Gold status law firm for its proficiency in Intellectual Property law.

The WTR 1000 recommends 1000 global law firms and attorneys considered to be the leaders in the field and delivering top-quality trademark services.
According to WTR 1000 Managing Editor Trevor Little, the global ranking cataloguing leading Trade Mark legal professionals is compiled though an exhaustive qualitative research project, conducted over a four-month period.

“The WTR 1000 is the only stand-alone directory to focus exclusively on trademark practices and practitioners, and the research is a continual process,” Little explained. Adding that: “the publication focuses on more than 50 key jurisdictions; analysing the local markets and identifying the leading practitioners and firms in both contentious and non-contentious work.”

In Kenya, IKM Advocates has been named as a Gold Status law firm alongside Kaplan & Stratton Advocates.

Speaking in Nairobi, IKM partner William Maema confirmed that the firm had received a communiqué detailing its ranking in the WTR 1000 which he described as a welcome endorsement from a global authority on trade mark issues.

“As an indigenous law firm, we are humbled, yet encouraged by the gold ranking which speaks volumes of our professional capacity to deliver world class intellectual property and related trade mark counsel to our clients,” Maema explained.

And added: “Intellectual Property specialisation may well be an emerging space within the local jurisdiction and we are proud that we have retained a wealth of experience to help us guide our clients through.”

In the WTR 1000 listing, IKM Advocates and Kaplan &Stratton are the only gold status law firms in the prestigious ranking that features only seven law firms from Kenya.

While describing IKM Advocates’ as one of Kenya’s leading indigenous business law firms, WTR 1000 notes that Nairobi is the commercial hub of East Africa and a focal point for trademark activity in the region.

Domestic companies, the report discloses are pouring more resources into the protection and enforcement of their intellectual property, which has led to an increase in both local and regional filings and the volume of oppositions being lodged.

From such a perspective, IKM Advocates, WTR 1000 writes, has long been a top choice among international companies seeking to protect and enforce their intellectual property in East Africa. Under the stewardship of commercial department head William Maema, the practice has flourished.

“Maema is known internationally as a “deeply knowledgeable commercial lawyer with a strong background in intellectual property and a huge bank of experience”. Within intellectual property, he focuses predominantly on trademark prosecution, though he also puts his corporate and commercial skill sets to use in drafting and negotiating licence agreements and other IP transactions,” the WTR Citation reads.

Other silver listed law firms include: Coulson Harney Advocates, Hamilton Harrison & Matthews, Muriu Mungai & Co, Ndungu Njoroge & Kwach Advocates and Sisule Munyi Kilonzo & Associates.

The gold and silver bands reflect the reputations of teams and professionals relative to their peers in the field, according to research carried out by The IP Media Group.

Kenya, WTR 1000 acknowledges is an attractive market for multinationals seeking to protect and enforce their trademark rights because of the quick turnaround time on trademark registrations and the increasing levels of IP specialisation in the judiciary.

In addition, the new Anti-counterfeiting Agency – established under the 2008 Anti-counterfeiting Act – is now fully operational and is acting aggressively to tackle the problem of counterfeiting, proving a boon to brand owners. For rights holders, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to external legal counsel in the Kenyan market, the report concludes.

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