Court Orders Airtel Kenya to Compensate Willis Raburu with Ksh. 6.5 Million for ‘Bazu’ Trademark Usage

In a recent legal development, journalist Willis Raburu has secured a significant victory as the court mandates Airtel Kenya to pay him Ksh. 6.5 million for the unauthorized use of his trademark, ‘Bazu’.

Milimani Commercial Chief Magistrate Rawlings Musiega delivered the ruling, affirming that the telecommunications giant had indeed utilized the ‘Bazu’ trademark to promote one of its internet bundle products.

Evidence presented to the court outlined that Airtel had employed the trademark subsequent to Raburu’s registration of it on April 13, 2021, under No. 116744.

As part of the verdict, Magistrate Musiega issued a restraining order against Airtel, prohibiting the use of the trademark in any broadcast media material or anything resembling it.

Furthermore, Airtel has been directed to compensate Raburu with Ksh. 5 million for special damages and an additional Ksh. 1.5 million for general damages.

However, Airtel Kenya has been granted a 45-day stay of execution or the option to file an appeal within the same period.

The legal battle, initiated by Raburu through his legal representative Victor Orandi of Matthew and Partners Advocates on June 12, 2022, alleged trademark infringement by Airtel Kenya.

Raburu’s argument rested on his exclusive rights to the ‘Bazu’ trademark, granted upon registration, particularly concerning goods or services categorized under advertising and telecommunications services, as per the International Classification of Goods and Services.

In response, Airtel Kenya countered the claims, suggesting that Raburu’s motive was merely financial gain, and they were hopeful for an amicable resolution. Additionally, they contended that the term ‘Bazu’ was in common usage within the local Sheng language before Raburu’s registration.

Following the ruling, Raburu expressed satisfaction via social media, emphasizing the importance of respecting intellectual property rights and warning against unauthorized usage of the ‘Bazu’ name.

“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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Ken Maasai

Ken Wakuraya is a seasoned Journalist with official accreditation from the Media Council of Kenya, possessing extensive expertise in covering political, Entertainment, and Human interest stories.

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