The Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative (MIPI) is dedicated to reclaiming the Maasai ownership of its famous iconic cultural brand. The Maasai name, image and reputation is used around the world on products ranging from cars to shoes, and exercise equipment and is worth billions of dollars. The income from our IP is gained by companies across the globe without the permission of the Maasai, while about 80% of the Maasai live below poverty levels.
Maasai IP Initiative is dedicated to changing this by enabling the Maasai tribe to take more control over their own Intellectual Property. Founded and supported by the Washington DC based Not-Profit Organization, Light Years IP, Maasai IP Initiative works across Tanzania and Kenya to represent the Maasai IP rights. With Light Years IP support, we are working to obtain licenses from companies who currently use our Intellectual Property. We are also working on Trademark rights, and building Authenticity for the Maasai Mamas to return more income through Direct trade. We engage in lobbying and letter writing when we find companies have used our images in offensive ways.
The goals of MIPI are to:
- To consult the Maasai people on controlling the use by other of the culture, images, and Intellectual Property of the Maasai.
- To regain control over the cultural brand in ways approved by the people.
- To secure income from use of the brand that does not offend the Maasai people.
- To distribute the income for community benefit as determined by the people.
- To represent the Maasai of Tanzania and Kenya in a unified, transparent way.
- To educate the Maasai and the next generation of Maasai about their brand and other IP.
- To distribute income through a board of Maasai for community projects and sustainability of the MIPI initiative. A Maasai Constitution has been constructed in collaboration with Maasai lawyers.
MIPI is supported by powerful friends who understand that Maasai Intellectual Property belongs to the Maasai. The African IP Trust, co-chaired by Lord Paul Boateng and Congresswoman Diane Watson lobbies and supports us (www.africaniptrust.org).