Kenyans using ‘alaa’ phrase without Atwoli’s permission risk lawsuit

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has officially trademarked ‘alaaa’ ‘alaaa’ and ‘alaaa’ phrases.

Owing to the latest development, anyone caught using the phrases risks landing in court.

The trade unionist secured a patent to own the phrase until July 2031. Henceforth, no person is allowed to use the phrase for entertainment, advertisement of any other purposes without his consent.

“Yes, they should get permission from him. And, any advert can’t use the word ‘alaa!’ unless they get his permission,” he said, noting that any advertisement that contains “alaa” will be deemed to have breached the trademark.

“I saw a billboard the other day at Village Market that had the word ‘alaa!’ But, thank God, they pulled it down after three days because they were told, ‘Atwoli akiiona, mtalipa millions,’” a source close to Atwoli told The Nation.

The news was also confirmed by Henry Kibe from patents division of the Kenya Industrial Property Insitute (KIPI).

The phrase first went viral in May 2021. At the time, Atwoli uttered the phrase during an interview with Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange on the JKL show.

Later within the same year, Atwoli announced that he was seeking exclusive rights over the phrase.