Microfinance company Faulu Kenya had sought an interim injunction last year laying claim to the M-Shwari product, arguing that it had presented the concept to the operator in 2011.
In his ruling, Justice Jonathan Havelock said he could not see how the concept paper could fit into any of the categories of the copyright.
“Try as I may, I do not seem to be able to fit the Plaintiff’s said concept paper into any of these categories,” said Havelock, adding the fact similar products exist in the market points to the absence of confidentiality in the concept as “the secret as a secret had ceased to exist”.
He ruled that since Faulu had failed to bring proof that it owns any copyright in the concept paper or provide proof of infringement of the alleged copyright or other intellectual property rights, Faulu had failed to establish a prima facie case that would result in the court granting the injunctive orders that Faulu had sought.
According to Havelock, nothing stops Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) from exercising the M-Shwari services.
M-Shwari seeks to increase access to a wider range of financial services and is the result of a new strategic cooperation between Vodafone, Safaricom and CBA.
It was launched on November 27 last year as a cash advance product for M-Pesa subscribers to save and borrow money from the CBA through M-Shwari.