Francis Atwoli to trademark viral slogan, Alaa!

Francis Atwoli to trademark viral slogan, Alaa!

The word Alaa! as you all know, has commonly been used by Kenyans to express different feelings but moving forward, it could be not as easy as it sounds to say it anyhow, anywhere.

The Central Organisation Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, who first made the phrase famous back in February has now applied to have the phrase trademarked.

According to a report seen by Citizen Digital, the COTU boss has already applied to the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) for exclusive rights for the use of the word.

If trademarked, it will mean that anyone within the Kenyan border will be mandated to seek nod from Atwoli to use the term. This will apply to intending to use the word whether online, offline and in public, even in your own house.

Kenyans wishing to challenge Atwoli’s latest move have until December 29 to do so. Citizen reports that those who intend to challenge will be required to part with Ksh. 5,000 if they are Kenyan citizens or Ksh2,500 if they are foreigners.

A trademark, according to KIPI, is a symbol used to identify the items of an industrial or commercial firm, or a collection of such enterprises.

“The sign may consist of one or more distinctive works, letters, numbers, drawings or pictures, monograms, signatures, colours or a combination of colours,” reads KIPI’s website.

It is not Atwoli who first founded the name though. It has been used by different people not only in Kenya but other countries too.

However, Atwoli, with his chucklesome character, made the phrase to go viral when he appeared on Citizen TV in an interview with Jeff Koinange in February this year.

Topic of discussion at that time was about who would succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta upon conclusion of his term in August next year.

“I told you Jeff, I don’t know who is going to be the President but I know who is not going to be the President, Alaa! Alaa! Alaa,” Atwoli exclaimed.

The word has become so common even among corporates and companies most of whom are using it to sell their brand.

Atwoli contends in his application that the phrase has no English translation, claiming that the slogan, or chant, is a unique exclamation attributed to him publicly.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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