Application of intellectual property rights in enhancing foreign direct investment in Kenya
Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) refers to the rights that inhere in the creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. With time, the global system of intellectual property rights is undergoing profound change. Numerous developing countries recently have undertaken significant strengthening of their IPRs regimes. Regional trading arrangements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and a series of Partnership Agreements under negotiation between the European Union and various Eastern European and Middle Eastern nations, now pay significant attention to issues of regulatory convergence, with particular emphasis on intellectual property rights. Most important is the introduction of the multilateral agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights, or TRIPs, within the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under the terms of TRIPs, current and future WTO members must adopt and enforce strong and non-discriminatory minimum standards of protection for intellectual property. There is therefore among an evident commitment to achieving strong protection and enhancement of application of IPRs. It is against this back drop that this study was formulated to evaluate the application of IPRs in enhancing Foreign Direct Investment in Kenya (FDI). A case study design was adopted in this study. This study focused on two departments namely the Registry of Companies a department under the State Law Office and the Kenya Industrial Property Institute a department under the Ministry of Trade. The study had three objectives namely investigating the level of protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Kenya, finding out the determinants of protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Kenya and establishing the relationship between protection of Intellectual Property Rights and Foreign Direct Investments in Kenya. In this study, emphasis was given both to secondary data and primary data. The secondary data comprised of the data collected by the Registries mentioned above. Data was also collected via structured questionnaires from the respondents in charge of those registries namely, the Registrars, Assistant Registrars, State Counsels and Assisting State Counsels. The findings of the study established that with the passage of time and as the level of protection of Intellectual Property Rights continues to develop, there is a corresponding increase in the number of foreign companies registering trademarks and patents at Kenya Industrial Property Institute and further there is a corresponding growth in the number of foreign companies registered at the Registry of Companies. The study further established that the rate of growth of the registration at the Companies Registry and the rate of growth of the registration of trademarks and patents at Kenya Industrial Property Institute was related. The study therefore recommends that there is need to further develop the level of application of IPRs in Kenya for the purpose of enhancing the growth ofFDI in Kenya.