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Absa Bank in trade name row with trade, MPs to probe change of name from Barclays



Rebranded international Bank Absa Kenya is rocked in a trade name row with a local trader over possible infringements of user rights a matter that has found its way to the floor of the National Assembly.

Already, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula has directed the matter be handled by the by the committee on Finance and National Planning.

Saboti Member of Parliament Caleb Amisi, in a request for statement on Thursday last week asked the Attorney General Justin Bundi Muturi to explain the circumstances that led to the change of name.

The legislator said Barclays changed its name to Absa despite the latter having been registered in 2007 and even issued with a certificate of incorporation.

Effectively, the brewing controversy of Barclays Bank Kenya change of name to Absa Kenya is likely to precipitate a protracted intellectual property dispute likely to jolt regional and international operations of the bank with a strong market control in South African region.

Barclays Bank.

“Could the Attorney General outline the steps that the government is taking to address the concerns raised and in particular confirm whether any user rights for the name were transferred to the bank.” Amisi submitted.

The Absa names was registered in 2007 for a period of ten years and was renewed in 2017 for another ten years.

Absa Kenya Limited was registered on November 17, 2006 and the company is active to date according to records from Registration of Business Services at the State Law Office.

Further, the website was registered on September 13, 2005 and has been active ever since.

After announcing the decision to change its holding company name from Barclays Africa Group Limited to Absa Group Limited, Kenyan businessman Edward James Njoroge Njuguna went to court alleging infringement of trademark.

In his submissions, Njoroge said that his firm, Absa Kenya Limited, had suffered greatly because of the alleged infringement and its trading partners had cancelled various transactions.

However, Justice Mary Kasango dismissed the case upon finding that the businessman failed to show genuine use of the mark and that the bank did not infringe his trademark.