Maasai warriors fight for their brand
A member of Kenya’s Maasai tribe, Isaac ole Tialolo thought about protecting his intellectual property, when a tourist, while in the Masai reserve ,started snapping photos without asking permission.
Mr.Tialolo is educating the Maasai community in Kenya and Tanzania about the value of their brand and has hired lawyers to persuade multinational companies to recognize the Maasai trademark and hoping to persuade other companies using their brand to pay a royalty.
The Maasai recently struck their first deal with a UK retail company, which has agreed to pay a licence fee for clothes based on Maasai designs.
Further Maasai’s targets is a Singaporean company ( MBT) that patented sports shoes whose destabilising-sole design is intended to build muscle by emulating the Maasai gait over soft ground. Some of its shoes resemble those of the Maasai fashion from old tires.
The Maasai are not the first community to seek to protect and profit from their brand but specialists confirm that they have a long battle ahead of them.