Momentus Win for KWAL against Mount Kenya Breweries for Infringement of Kibao Vodka Bottle Design

In a landmark judgment made by the Industrial Property Tribunal on December 2, 2020 Kenya Wine Agencies Ltd (KWAL) was granted a permanent injunction, an award of general damages of KES. 3 Million against Mount Kenya Breweries Limited (MKBL) and costs of the case.

In the Judgment, the Tribunal ruled that MKBL has infringed on KWAL’s Industrial Design no. 1093 in which KIBAO Vodka is sold. The Tribunal issued a permanent injunction restraining MKBL whether by itself, its directors, officers, employees, servants or agents, or otherwise howsoever from infringing on or using (in any way) the KIBAO bottle. The Tribunal also gave KWAL the right to take measures to seize all the offending/infringing products that are still in circulation.

Earlier, on 28th April, 2020 the Tribunal had issued a temporary reprieve in favour of Kenya Wine Agencies Ltd (KWAL) against Mount Kenya Breweries Limited (MKBL) in the case. In that Ruling, the Tribunal issued a temporary injunction stopping MKBL from using the Kibao Vodka bottles, pending the determination of the case.

KWAL had filed the case contending that Mount Kenya Breweries were using the Kibao bottle design to package and sell their Sparkler Vodka without any licence or consent. KWAL further contended that it stood to suffer economic loss by the continued presence of Sparkler Vodka bottled products that mimic its registered industrial design in the market.

KWAL registered the bottle design according to an application for registration filed with Kenya Industrial Property (KIPI) in 2018 and a certificate issued in 2019 by KIPI.

Kibao Vodka, one of KWAL’s flagship brands was ranked among the Top 100 World Fastest Growing Spirits in the International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) rankings. The brand emerged among the top bestselling brands as the only Kenyan brand to make it on the list beating international liquor brands owing to the tremendous volume augmentation.

A stay of execution was issued to MKBL for 30 days.