Mobile phone service provider Safaricom has sued its competitor Airtel over trademark infringement.
Safaricom accuses Airtel of using a trademark similar to that of M-Pesa to promote its Airtel money services.
The trademark is displayed on adverts carried by Airtel.
In suit papers, Safaricom says Airtel printed the adverts in different retail outlets in Mombasa, Narok, Kitui, Kisumu, Kisii, Kakamega, Nairobi and Central.
Safaricom has filed pictures in court that it claims show evidence of Airtel Kenya’s usage of signs that are identical to two of its registered M-Pesa trademarks for the promotion and marketing of Airtel Money, its mobile cash transfer service.
“Airtel has infringed and continues infringing on the plaintiff’s trademark number 60093 by printing and advertising on retail outlets, boards and plates for the promotion and marketing of its Airtel money,” says Safaricom in court documents.
The telco accuses Airtel of riding on the goodwill and extensive market share of M-Pesa, which has over the years grown and taken a commanding lead over Airtel Money.
One of the infringed M-Pesa logos was registered as trademark number 60093 for use in respect of advertising and business management administration while the second M-Pesa logo registered as trademark 62612 is for use in respect of clothing, footwear and headgear.
The 60093 trademark has a phone with a note on it between the letters M and Pesa of the logo while the 62612 trademark has the words joined with a hyphen.
The two M-Pesa logos are used for branding of the 85,756 retail outlets that provide Safaricom’s mobile money transfer services.
This blogger will be following the developments in this case