Providing Kenyan Farmers with Real Time Data to Dramatically Increase Yields

Client: UjuziKilimo
Member Firm: Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA
Sector: Agriculture, Tech
Legal Area: Intellectual Property

East Africa is one of the most food-insecure regions in the world. In Kenya, most people live in areas prone to food shortages, and an estimated 40% of the population is undernourished. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, UjuziKilimo is an agriculture social enterprise that uses big data and analytic capabilities to transform farmers into a knowledge-based community, with the goal of improving productivity through precision insights.

UjuziKilimo’s tech assists farmers with crop yield optimization through soil analysis and farming recommendations. UjuziKilimo uses sensor technology to measure soil characteristics, send the information in real time to an analysis center and, in turn, relay information with the crop breed, fertilizer required, pest control, markets and other farm management tools to the farmer, in real time, through his/her mobile phone. In the next two years, UjuziKilimo aims to reach 200,000 Kenyan farmers.

Co-Founder and CEO Brian Bosire was inspired to start UjuziKilimo after his own experience in agribusiness. Bosire was constantly frustrated by the lack of information from unhelpful government officials and convoluted bureaucracy that lead to several months of delays in getting even basic soil analysis results. As an engineering graduate, Bosire knew he could do better. After posting losses in his first attempt at farming on a small piece of land, Bosire increased crop productivity by 45% with more information sourced with UjuziKilimo. Bosire is also a junior senator which has helped him interact with various leaders that are critical in creating partnerships with local governments to implement UjuziKilimo.

Bosire reached out to the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation seeking assistance with developing a plan to protect its intellectual property. The Foundation sourced legal assistance from Lex Mundi member law firm Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA who consulted with UjuziKilimo and assisted in drafting its filings.

“Having prosecuted hundreds of cases throughout the world, and litigated many as well, it is not too often that a legal matter draws strong attention,” said Peter Nieves, head of the firm’s Patent Law and Intellectual Property and Technology Groups. “Bosire provided an exception to that general rule.  When an inventor has a personal investment in technology due to a cause that is much bigger than themselves, you know that regardless of securing the intellectual property, the technology will likely succeed. However, if you can secure strong IP protection, the inventor is provided with a much stronger platform from which to pursue worthy goals. It was a true pleasure to guide and support Bosire and UjuziKilimo in this venture and we look forward to hearing more about how this technology helps those in need.”

“I highly appreciate the connection to the Sheehan Phinney attorneys,” Bosire recently said of his match with Mr. Nieves and his team. “We had a great experience with them and I’m happy to inform you that we successfully filed the IP document that they helped us prepare. We owe that to you!”

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