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Invention means a solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. It is; a new and useful art (whether producing a physical effect or not), process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter which is not obvious, or any new and useful improvement thereof which is not obvious, capable of being used or applied in trade or industry and includes an alleged invention. An invention may be, or may relate to, a product, or a process.

Patents Fuel progress

Where would the world be without inventions and innovations? At a backward stage of Industrial Development without doubt. Technological progress and economic strength in any modem nation, Kenya being no exception, depends greatly on the ability of its nationals to be creative and innovative and be aggressive in the promotion of trade both at home and abroad. Patents play a major role in the stimulation of inventive activity.

Patents offer inventors monopolies on their creations for specific periods, and thus provided incentives for research and development. Without the possibility of patent protection, many people might not take the risks or invest the time and money involved in devising and perfecting new products. For example, our society would have benefited greatly were we to have protected products such as the kiondo and even certain vaccines for livestock diseases produced in Kenya.

It is important that new products become available on the market continuously; otherwise without them the economy would quickly stagnate.

But patents do more than keep creative wheel spinning. They are also a means of technological exchange. Each patent document describes a new aspect of a technology in clear and specific terms and is available for anyone to read. Patents are made public specifically to promote the sharing of knowledge. As such they are vital resources for entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, academics and others who need to keep up with development in their fields.

What can you Patent?

Yes: Inventions in any field of Technology. In general any device, substance, method or process can be patented

Examples: Any new or improved product or process in the following main sections of technology: 

  1. Human Necessities: Agriculture, foodstuff, to personal or domestic articles, health and amusement.
  2. Performing operations and transporting: separating, mixing, shaping, printing and transporting.
  3. Chemistry and metallurgy.
  4. Textiles and paper. Fixed Construction: Building, earth moving mining.
  5. Mechanical engineering, lighting, heating, weapons, blasting including engines, pumps and engineering in general
  6. Physics: Instruments and nucleonic.
  7. Electricity

There are exceptions. The following are not regarded as inventions and are excluded from patent protection: -

  1. Discoveries or findings that are products or processes of nature where mankind has not participated in their creation (including, plants and microorganisms).
  2. Scientific and mathematical methods and theories.
  3. Schemes e.g. investment, methods of bookkeeping or insurance schemes.
  4. Business methods e.g. credit or stock methods
  5. Rules for playing games (The games equipment may be patentable).
  6. Methods for treatment of human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods; except products, in particular substances or compositions or apparatus for use in, any of those methods or;
  7. Public Health related methods of use or uses of any molecule or other substances whatsoever used for the prevention or treatment of any disease which the Minister responsible for matters relating to health may designate as a serious health hazard or as a life threatening disease.
  8. Mere presentation of information.
  9. Non Functional details of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation

Note, also that some inventions are not patentable under the Industrial Property Act. They are: -
Plant varieties, but not parts thereof or products of biotechnological processes.

  • Inventions contrary to public order, morality, public health and safety, principles of humanity, and environmental conservation.


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