2022 election technology provider Smartmatic International gets trademark in Kenya
The technology company behind the provision of technology in the disputed 2022 elections in Kenya has been granted trademark registration in the country.
The announcement was made in the February 2023 monthly journal by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), which administers industrial property rights and provides technological information to the public.
According to the journal, Smartmatic International Corporation has applied for trademark registration in several categories, including automated electronic voting machinery and voting systems, hardware and software documentation, consulting services related to election planning and management, and design and programming of automated voting solutions.
The registration of the trademark has been accepted by KIPI, but any person who has grounds for opposition may lodge a notice of opposition within 60 days of the journal’s publication. The notice must be accompanied by a fee of KES 5,000/= (local opponent) or US$ 250 (foreign opponent).
The period for lodging the notice of opposition may be extended by the Registrar as they deem fit.
The announcement also states that formal opposition should not be lodged until after a reasonable notice has been given in writing to the applicant for registration. Failure to give such notice will be taken into account when considering any application by an opponent for an order for costs if the opposition is uncontested by the applicant.
Smartmatic International Corporation, which is based in Barbados, was responsible for providing the automated electronic voting machinery and voting systems used in Kenya’s 2022 elections. The company has faced widespread criticism and allegations of electoral fraud, which the company has severally denied.
The registration of the trademark is likely to be met with opposition from opposition groups and civil society organizations in Kenya, who have been vocal in their criticism of the 2022 elections and the role played by Smartmatic in the process.
The company declined to open the national tallying centre (NTC) servers during the last election, citing security concerns.
Smartmatic International Holding stated in a letter to parties to the presidential election petition before the Supreme Court at the time that providing full access to servers hosting Form 34C would violate its intellectual property rights.