Re­prieve for Ren­tokil in bins dis­pute with ri­val

Business Daily (Kenya) - - CORPORATE NEWS - Sam Ki­pla­gat skipla­[email protected]­tion­

The High Court has granted hy­giene ser­vices firm Ren­tokil (K) Ltd a tem­po­rary re­prieve that lets the firm ap­peal against an ear­lier de­ci­sion al­low­ing a lo­cal com­peti­tor to col­lect bins from its premises for pre­sen­ta­tion be­fore a judge.

The long-run­ning dis­pute be­tween Sanitam Ser­vices (E.A.) Ltd and the Kenyan sub­sidiary of Ren­tokil Ini­tial PLC of UK, started in 1999 when Sanitam ac­cused the lat­ter of in­fring­ing on its patent.

Sanitam said it reg­is­tered the de­sign un­der patent num­ber AP773 for the in­ven­tion of a foot-op­er­ated lit­ter and san­i­tary dis­posal bin.

The com­pany then moved to court and sought or­ders to re­strain Ren­tokil from man­u­fac­tur­ing, of­fer­ing for sale or | CLAIM pass­ing off the foot-op­er­ated san­i­tary bins as theirs.

It was the ar­gu­ment of the Kenyan com­pany that if al­lowed to dis­trib­ute the bins, it was likely to cause con­fu­sion.

Through an af­fi­davit, Mr Sam­son Ng’ang’a, the di­rec­tor of Sanitam, said he de­signed and in­vented a foot-op­er­ated lit­ter or san­i­tary dis­posal bin in 1997 for use in the hy­gienic stor­age and dis­posal of san­i­tary tow­els, tam­pons, sur­gi­cal dress­ings, servi­ettes and other waste ma­te­rial.

On its part, Ren­tokil de­nied that the foot-op­er­ated bin was a patentable in­ven­tion and claimed that it was in the mar­ket for many years be­fore Sanitam claimed its in­ven­tion.

In May 2017, Jus­tice Fred Ochieng of the High Court au­tho­rised Sanitam to en­ter the premises of Ren­tokil and get their bins which were brought in in vi­o­la­tion of court or­ders.

But Jus­tice Mary Kasango in De­cem­ber or­dered Ren­tokil to de­posit Sh50 mil­lion in court to act as a guar­an­tee in the dis­pute.

While grant­ing the or­der, she said if the money is not de­posited within seven days, Sanitam Ser­vices (E.A.) Ltd would be free to raid its premises and seize the bins in con­tention.

De­sign reg­is­tered un­der patent num­ber AP773” SANITAM

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