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Journalist Willis Raburu will soon have a fattened wallet after the court has ordered Airtel Kenya to pay him Ksh.6.5 million for using his trademark ‘Bazu’.

Milimani Commercial Chief Magistrate Rawlings Musiega ruled that the telecommunications company indeed used the ‘Bazu’ trademark to promote one of their internet bundle products.

According to court submissions, Airtel used the trademark after Raburu registered it on April 13, 2021 under No. 116744.

Magistrate Musiega therefore restrained Airtel from using the trademark in publishing any of its material on broadcast media or using anything similar to the trademark.

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He further ordered Airtel to pay Ksh.5 million in special damages and an additional Ksh.1.5 million in general damages.

Airtel Kenya has however been granted 45 days stay of execution or file an appeal within the same period.

Raburu, through lawyer Victor Orandi of Matthew and Partners Advocates, took Airtel Kenya to court on June 12, 2022 accusing them of trademark infringement.

He argued that the trademark was used yet by registering it he was granted exclusive right to the use ‘Bazu’ in relation to goods or services classified under ‘advertising and telecommunications services as per the International Classification of Goods and Services.

In their defense, Airtel Kenya argued that Raburu was only aiming for quick enrichment and hoped for a silent settlement.

They added that the word ‘Bazu’ was well in use by other parties before the said registration date and “in instances where there exists continuous use of a word or symbol by various third parties prior to registration, the Plaintiff and/or any other person cannot enjoy exclusive rights from the use of such a word or symbol.”

Airtel Kenya further submitted that the term was not originally created and designed by Raburu since it has been a well-known slang in the local sheng language.

In a social media post, Raburu has welcomed the ruling, calling on other businesses to respect intellectual property rights.

“Respect for intellectual property is paramount, and those using the name BAZU without authority will face similar consequences, as legal notices have already been served. I extend my gratitude to God for this favorable outcome. Success is reflected in actions, and I am grateful for the resolution of this matter,” he wrote on X.

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