Safaricom’s “Blaze” campaign under fire

In June 2016 the advertising agency, Transcend, raided the offices of rival agency Saracen Media. Mike Njeru, chairman of Transcend, accompanied the police in conducting the raid. Transcend agency obtained a court order (after suing Saracen Media agency for alleged copyright infringement) allowing them to seize computers and documents from Saracen prior to the ongoing court hearing (that was scheduled for the 17th of June 2016).

The reason Safaricom is being involved in the case is due to the ‘Blaze’ tender that Transcend lost to rival Saracen Media. Transcend claimed in their letters to Vodafone that Saracen Media paid a bribe to Safaricom in order to secure the multi-million shilling deal. Safaricom has since (the allegations by Transcend) insists that Saracen beat Transcend and four other bidders fairly, without any bribery.

The ongoing ‘Blaze’ youth campaign is one that has drawn much national attention and although this suit has not (yet) had an impact on the campaign itself, it has certainly drawn much attention to Transcend. The media agency’s presence since the suit has been more widespread.

A good recap of the intellectual property issues in the Blaze copyright suit is available over on the IP Kenya Blog here.


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