Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Kikoi "brand" threatened by British company

This is annoying: why would a British company happily trading with Kenya, importing the popular woven kikoi cloths (the sarong-style wraps favoured by the coastal Swahili people) seek to trademark the name kikoi for its own benefit to deprive small Kenyan exporters of access to the European market and squash the competition? It seems that the Swahili word for basket – kiondo – has already gone the same way (to Japan, in 2006). The Kikoy Company took an ad in the Rough Guide too. Perhaps there's an innocent, or reasonable, explanation (anyone?) but I expect they'll want to take their advertising elsewhere next time.

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