What an Exciting Primates Trekking Experience

Planning a Uganda safari is not that easy. However, my last adventure trip in Uganda was filled with both amazing moments and a few side notes. The unfortunate things i remember is that i didn’t do the chimp habituation as I wasn’t aware that it is another interesting thing to do. Furthermore, I wore the wrong shoes and ended up twisting my ankle which was terribly painful, and I also lost my glasses when I slipped. However, I kept going because I was so excited to see the chimps.

Well I wasn’t disappointed because at least 20 chimps came down from the trees and surrounded our small group. It was incredible to see them interacting with each other. I remember that the leader of the clan made a screeching noise and then all of the other chimps climbed back up the trees again. It was incredible to watch!! I felt very secure because one of the rangers was armed with an Ak-47. Furthermore, the chimps paid very little attention to us.

There are 12 other primates in Kibale National Park. I can remember seeing 3 of them. Kibale National Park is a truly beautiful place in itself. I show the chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura gorge and found the experience unforgettable.

After this experience I transferred to Bwindi impenetrable national park where I had unforgettable gorilla trekking experience and we tracked the Bitukura group. We booked our Gorilla tracking trip with Safari Gorillas before travelling to east Africa.

I actually booked through the company behind that website is Safari Gorillas. The same company secured a permit for us for the Bitukura group in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. As we were squeezed for time, we decided against flying into Kampala which would have involved a long drive to Bwindi and after went to Mgahinga Gorilla Park where I had the great Mgahinga hike and golden monkey tracking. Then the following day I visited the Batwa where I spent the whole day experiencing the cultural performances and learning the life style of the Batwa historical and current life. After I flew into Kigali in Rwanda-A driver of Safari Gorillas drove us across the border into Rwanda. I stayed in the Kinigi guest house in Ruhengeri which was comfortable though pretty quiet. I took short drive from lodge to the volcanoes took about 2 hours.

For me this is, after Gorilla Tracking, my favorite activity in Bwindi/Buhoma. I would really recommend going up there. Doesn’t matter which age you are, it is really worth every since cent. I was twice there and would go again, if I had the chance.

Planning a Uganda Safari

Have you ever thought of having a unforgettable moment in life? Have you ever dreamed of going to Africa to see a real safari? Do you want to see over 352 out of 700  surviving  mountain  gorillas that live in Uganda plus other species of flora and fauna coupled with over 9 species of primates that live in Uganda  such as chimpanzee? Taking a gorilla safari in Uganda is truly a once in a lifetime experience that you will enjoy and memorise through out your life. However, for every successful safari adventure, you need to make sure that you do it right.

Choosing the Right Tour Operator

To organize a memorable safari in Africa, you will need to work with a company that plans safari vacations for people.  There are several Uganda safari tour Companies that have experts in organizing trip vacations. These tour operation businesses commonly refered to as “tours and travel” specialize in various offering different safaris in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Each tour operator has their own unique and special discoveries for you to enjoy.From common safari trails to uniquely created new adventure trails, there are endless options to choose from.

Tour Offers

There are many safari options available for a traveler interested in discovering Uganda. These include the popular gorilla safaris, wildlife safaris, chimpanzee trekking tours, rafting adventures etc. You can also decide to create a tailor made trip that will include different interests.

Top Things to See

There are lots of things to do and see in Uganda. The most popular things to see and do include;

  • Gorilla Trekking: In Uganda, you are sure to see some of the giant silver back dominating the other gorillas by pounding their chest in the middle of the beautiful, unspoiled rainforest.
  • Do not forget to drive through the Ishasha Region to see the unique tree climbing lions that are found in only Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is common that these lions can be seen up in the trees sitting gracefully on the fig tree branches with no care in the world.
  • Visit the Source of the Nile in Jinja
  • Take short excursions to Jinja, Kampala or Entebbe
  • Trek to the top of the Magherita Peak on the famed mountains of the moon in Western Uganda.

Whether you want to spend two days exploring Bwindi Gorilla Forest National Park or four days at Murchison Park Falls, traveling along the Nile you are sure to have an amazing vacation and stories to tell. Be sure to visit us for more information about your safari vacation and you sure wont regret it.

Does Gorilla Tracking help Protect Uganda Gorillas?

Are you a certified animal lover? Do you enjoy communing with nature and contributing to the preservation and conservation of them? Do you love travelling and taking pictures? Do you enjoy going on safaris and bearing witness to the beauty of nature and its other inhabitants? Which kind of safari animals are you most fond of? Lions, tigers, monkeys, chimpanzees, etc? If you are into gorillas and you have taken or would like to take a gorilla safari then this article is for you.

Gorillas are amazing creatures that are closely related to human beings. Gorilla safaris are filled with families of gorillas that are huge, docile, and timid apes that reside in a habitat in some chosen places in Africa. In the movies, you would notice that these gorillas are made to look like terrible and scary monsters. When in real life, you’d notice that they are in fact gentle, peaceful and harmless vegetarians. The gorillas are also of high intellect like men. However, it has been a rising struggle for most environmentalists that the gorillas are becoming extinct because of the massive deforestation of their natural homes.

Animal experts and environmentalists thought of a way to help protect gorillas by protecting ideal locations that would remain as a home for the gorillas and also draw in an income to help fund the areas through gorilla safaris. There are three solid reasons why gorilla safaris are helping to protect and preserve the numbers of gorillas. One reason is that in protected wildlife safari areas, these gorillas are kept together where they can interact with their own kind and eventually reproduce more of their species. The second reason is that with the existence of these gorillas, responsible people are pushed and motivated to take steps to preserve more of our surrounding environment. If we want these gorillas to live, we must take care of the place that they will live in. And the third reason is that, gorilla safaris create a habitat for the gorillas where they can comfortably live in peace without worrying about people who would harm them for profit or sport.

These gorilla safaris have also been gaining popularity for a lot of people to take as a life experience. However, we must remember that the money it brings home is allotted for the protection of the gorillas and the preservation of their habitat. These companies provide opportunities for visitors to experience the adventure of not just viewing the gorillas but also mountain gorilla tracking.

Gorillas are wonderful creatures that have a great deal of intelligence, they are capable of learning sign language and form thoughts and sentences to simply communicate with people. Gorillas dont survive well in captivity with there natural instinct being to roam and forage over a wide area. Book that flight now and visit a gorilla safari to develop your love and passion for these glorious animals and help in preserving the environment of this potentially extinct species.

It’s Always Amazing How Gorillas Can Be

Humans are considered to be very intelligent! Gorillas are highly considered to be intelligent too. A few individuals in captivity, have been taught a subset of sign language that they clearly understand. Like the other great apes, gorillas can laugh, grieve, and also have rich emotional lives, develop strong family bonds, make and use tools, and think about the past, present and future. Even in the wild, they are governed by laws; with the silverback being the head of the gorilla family. I got the chance to observe this on my gorilla safari adventure within Bwindi Forest last year!

These creatures construct nests for daytime and night use. Nests tend to be simple aggregations of branches and leaves about 2 to 5 ft and are constructed by individuals themselves. Gorillas, unlike chimpanzees or orangutans, tend to sleep in nests on the ground. The young nest with their mothers, but construct nests after three years of age, initially close to those of their mothers. Gorilla nests are distributed arbitrarily and use of tree species for site and construction appears to be opportunistic. Nest-building by great apes is no longer considered to be animal architecture, but also an important instance of using tools.

Some researchers believe gorillas have spiritual feelings or religious sentiments. They have been shown to have cultures in different areas revolving around different methods of food preparation, and will show individual color preferences.

Beware of Drunk Driving while on Self Drive in Uganda

Did you know that drunk driving is a criminal offence that can lead you into prison while self driving in Uganda? After you pass your DSA practical test, you get a license to drive on the road. Even if you have passed your test, you should always be careful, alert driver on the road. This is for your own safety as well as for other road users safety.

You should always follow road rules and regulations.

Drink driving is one of the serious driving offence. If you drink and drive, not only are you jeopardizing yourself, you are putting other road users at risk.

There are 250 people died due to drink driving and 14% of road accidents were caused by drink driving in 2010. By drinking and driving on the road, you risk your life and those of your passengers and others life. Alcohol can affect your ability to drive, weight, age and body metabolism and increase your stress levels. If you are driving after drinking, the alertness and carefulness will be less and you have trouble to judge your speed and be slower to react to hazards.

If you are planning to drive then alcohol must be avoided. This can help to reduce the no. of persons who killed or injured every year in road accidents due to drink driving. So drive safely and safe your and others life.

The drink driving law is complicated and given the severity of any potential punishment, expert assistance from a qualified solicitor should always be obtained. Many road users are confused by drink drive limits and alcohol levels.

The drink drive limit:

35 microgram’s of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath
107 microgram’s of alcohol per 100 milliliters of urine
what 80 milligram’s of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood

If you fail a roadside breath test, the police believe that you aren’t fit to drive because of drinking and you’ll be arrested and taken to a police station. Though you can pay bail and get free, it is always on the next day and the police will keep you inside their coolers till the next day! After securing your bail, you will need another person to drive you home!

In other instances, you may be offered a place on rehabilitation courses. The course teaches you more about the effects of alcohol on driving. The period for which you’re banned from driving will be reduced by up to a quarter, if you have successfully completed the course.

Author

Ssali Billy is a tour guide specializing in offering guided tours throughout Uganda and the East African Region. He also offers free advice on self drive car hire in Uganda to all those who want to adventure through Uganda on their own!

Is there potential in Mabira forest to develop tourism in Uganda

Celebrations International Forest Day in the world this week brought in an opportunity to dedicate some thoughts to the forests in Uganda. In our neighboring countries like Kenya politicians pondered for the past 5 years finding efforts to restore the Mau Forest, and others, to their crucial functions as water towers. In Tanzania illegal logging is now a greater problem than poaching, and that is out of control as it is, and the seizure of a freight train last week packed with illegally-logged timber shows how deep the collusion has reached, when entire railway trains can be converted into ferrying the loot.

Rwanda is a shining example in preserving nature and forestry, where Nyungwe Forest is a national park and jealously guarded and protected, and where Gishwati’s tourism potential will in a few weeks’ time be revealed in a breaking news article, paying tribute to those in the “land of a thousand hills” who have the foresight to protect their forests as sources of water, medicinal plants, and to store carbon emissions and use them sustainably for green ecotourism activities.

On this day,  it is once again Mabira which has caught my attention, as reports keep emerging of continued illegal logging deep inside the Mabira forest, now a growing problem thought worse than the ill-considered move to turn a quarter of the forest into a sugar plantation. The forest is recently starting to develop its tourism potential, slowly but surely, and the construction of a RainForest Lodge in Mabira has become a focal point and an encouragement of forest tourism, from where tourists taking a Uganda safari can enjoy cycling and hiking trips can be arranged with ease. Opposite the turn off to the lodge is, a few hundred meters down the track, the forest’s ecotourism center, established by the National Forest Authority, from where some of the hikes start and where mountain bikes are available for hire, for those who come without them and then suddenly get into the mood for a ride through the forest under ancient trees.

Robert, the Secretary to the Mabira Forest Integrated Communities Organization, was recently quoted in the local media as having said: “It is part of the rich cultural heritage of Mabira” before adding that though the history of Mabira is locked up in mysteries, the legendary stories have been told over generations. In the last 5 years, according to Robert, the Small Grants Program under the United Nations Development Program has invested US$70,000 to help harness the tourism potential at Griffin Falls and also promote community development.

“Mabira has an immense tourism potential,” added Robert saying that there are many tourism products waiting to be harnessed. If these potentials are developed, this would be a big supplement to gorilla safaris, the top thriving and largely depended upon backbone of Uganda’s tourism.

Only two years ago a new species of primates was discovered and confirmed by experts and the list of birds, butterflies, and a range of other mammals, of trees, medicinal plants, shrubs, and orchids is extensive, belying the fact that the forest is so close to the country’s capital of Kampala. As a result the nearly 29,000 hectares of the forest serve as the green lung of Kampala, often overlooked, often denied, but nevertheless so, maintaining that crucial balance of carbons released by society’s modern lifestyle and industrial emissions and carbons captured in the trees.

The added function as a water tower is equally important, as the River Nile and the River Sezibwa both drain from it, benefitting water levels in Lake Victoria.

The loss of forest cover in Uganda is massive and has increased in recent years, largely attributed to unscrupulous politicians promising land to their constituents in return for their votes, and this has led in other parts of the country to hundreds of deaths when landslides consumed entire small villages, built by people illegally entering Mt. Elgon Forest National Park and refusing to leave despite such tragedies. Similar reports of illegal forest occupation come from Kibaale District and elsewhere in the country. Again, recent media reports now call the issue of the environment a matter of national security and the following article copied below speaks volumes of where Uganda is heading:

Environment a security matter
Although the country’s collective Vision for 2025 talks about, a “Prosperous People, Harmonious Nation, Beautiful Country,” little is being done to secure the environment. And because of this Uganda is losing its forest cover at a rate of 2% annually amounting to 892,000 hectares.

According to FAO, countries like Rwanda where the forest cover is increasing have improved in their policies, laws, and invested more for foresters to engage the local population to conserve nature and plant trees.

Godber Tumushabe, the head of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment points out that the ecological integrity, particularly the environment that drives the county’s food basket and the forests, together with wetlands that feed water bodies with water should be placed at the same level as state security.
“Poor people without resources and hit by environmental disasters are ungovernable,” says Tumushabe.

Change of land use is not a wise option
While the Mabira giveaway to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) is being considered to address the sugar shortage in the country, a study on the economic valuation of Mabira shows that such a proposal is a miscalculation.
But if SCOUL increased its productivity to match Kakira and Kinyara then the expansion of the sugarcane scheme into Mabira would not arise, according to a new report.

The report entitled “Economic Valuation of 7,186 hectares of Mabira Central Forest Reserve” proposed for the land use change or outright degazettement, saying if SCOUL produces at Kakira’s rate of productivity then the demand for land would reduce to 5,496 hectares.

SCOUL’s demand for land could reduce further to 4,988 hectares if SCOUL produces at 120 metric tons per hectare as proposed by a study by the Africa Development Bank.

Another scenario is that SCOUL could also improve its sugarcane conversion from 8.4 to 10 like Kinyara. If this is achieved, the land demand could reduce from 7,186 hectares to 6,036 hectares.

By increasing the productivity of land as recommended by the African Development Bank study together with increased sugar conversion, SCOUL’s demand for additional land could reduce by 5,038 hectares leaving an outstanding need of only 2,148 hectares. This, according to the report, could be obtained elsewhere and Mabira be left alone.

The report was done by a team led by Dr. Yakobo Moyini (R.I.P) as the lead researcher four years ago. The study was commissioned by Nature Uganda, a non-government organization and partner of BirdLife International.

Other researchers included a biodiversity specialist, an agricultural economist, a forest inventory specialist, a natural environment economist, and a policy analyst.
Apart from the results of the economic analysis, the report questions why the government, “appears to place an apparently greater focus on SCOUL, the least efficient firm in the sugar industry.”

This, among many other media reports and scientific contributions from forestry experts and researchers goes to show what important role Mabira has to play, and yet, under the cover of darkness but increasingly often in bright daylight are lorries emerging from the forest loaded with freshly-cut timber, widening the cleared areas invisible from the main road through Mabira but visible very clearly from the air.

International Forest Day should mean something, here in Uganda in particular, as we claim the name, “The Pearl of Africa,” but it takes political will and backbone on one side and halting forest giveaways which send the wrong signals and encourage wood poachers on the other. Tourism is a big business now in Uganda and it depends overwhelmingly on intact nature, and intact forests, birds, wildlife, and reptiles found across the country.

When nature is destroyed, tourism will collapse alongside it, and when tourism collapses our economy will be on the brink, too, oil and gas or not, unless we will happily ever after live in a wasteland where food and water and fresh air can no longer be taken for granted.

NFA, according to well-informed sources on the subject, are shy to lock horns with the power that be, and while off the record express their vehement opposition to what is happening to Uganda’s forests, hardly dare to stand up to the appointing authority, draw a line in the sand, and tell politicians to dare cross and then face the full force of the law. Hence, NFA officials have a good inkling of what is going on vis-a-vis illegal logging but have to tread on eggshells instead of mobilizing and leading the cavalry to the sites in question, taking those found into custody and charge them in court, while at the same time going for the financiers and middle men, just like it should be done with poachers of elephant.

Is it too much to ask to protect our still relatively intact nature for future generations or are we today mortgaging the future of our children’s children with irreversible destruction? Time will tell – I hope you hugged a tree on International Forest Day, or better planted a few.

Uganda Tour Operators to Benefit from ITB Berlin’s How to Get Started Lectures

The travel industry follows its own rules, something that many startups and established companies new to this sector discover. In the coming March, ITB Berlin World Travel Market, Ugandan tour operators are expected to learn much on how to get started in marketing tourism products to the world.

After a study of past world travel markets, it has been revealed that many investors in the travel sector and startups is high. This is the audience that Travel Traction by OpenTravel, supported by the world’s leading travel trade show, will be addressing on the eve of ITB Berlin. In addition to providing a networking opportunity the event will be hosting lectures and discussions, with experts offering their in-depth knowledge. The event takes place on 5 March 2013, from 1 to 6 p.m., in Room 8 of the ICC on the exhibition grounds.

“The rules of the tourism industry pose huge challenges to newcomers to this sector“, says Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin GmbH. “At the same time, these companies contribute significantly to moving this industry forward. For us as the leading international travel trade show it is all the more important that we support this event.”

Among those who will be speaking at the Lecture is Douglas Quinby, Senior Director of Research, PhoCusWright, who will look at a new survey entitled „Travel Innovation – The State of Start-Ups 2010-2013.“ Kevin May, editor of the trade publication Tnooz, and ValynPerini, CEO OpenTravel, will also be taking part in the discussion. Corporate strategists and investors will be providing in-depth knowledge and relating their experiences in the travel industry.

The event comprises three tracks: one of these focuses on different types of business models, such as the distribution of an existing product – via a metasearch site such as Trivago – or the creation of one’s own portfolio, for example in the case of Hostelworld or AirBnB. This venture has been welcomed by tour operators in Uganda who have been participating in several WTMs trying to sell different tourism products with gorilla trekking being the main stream product!

Another topic to be discussed at the lecture is technology. For industry newcomers connectivity and compatibility often represent huge obstacles in terms of programming. The panel of experts will also dwell on the topics of procurement, sales and choosing service providers, such as airlines, cruise operators and hotels.

Tourism Laws In Uganda verses Ancient Culture

Tourism  Laws In  Uganda verses Ancient Culture
Tourism industry in Uganda is one of the world’s fastest growing economic sector and largest employer of manpower helps in earning multi-million  dollars annually by attracting a  million of tourists from various countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, South America to come to Uganda because of its amazing scenaries like the gorillas, chimpanzees , birds, e.t.c. But it has also a story too. In the past People used to hunt these  wild animals most especially the Kobs, impalas, warthogs for food at home but today the tourism law is so harsh with hunting these  animals like if your caught with either the animal flesh, skin or any of its products you are sentenced to more than 3 years behind the bars.

Domain Name Law – Is It Possible For Someone to Steal My Domain Name?

The law has to change with the changing world development or it will not be able to keep up with the new crimes that are coming up with the new technology.
Two decades ago there wasn’t really any type of cyber law. Today, almost every newspaper reports some form of cyber crime or something about legal issues that involve the Internet, or the companies that do business there. The music and film and book printing industry has been distraught over piracy, copyright infringement, and stolen intellectual property.  Does the developing country have capacity to catch up?
Here is an interesting article:

Domain Name Law – Is It Possible For Someone to Steal My Domain Name?

INTRODUCTION

After being granted the rights to a domain name by registering the name with a Registrar, you receive a letter from a company or their Lawyer claiming to have rights in a Trademark, alleging your registration violates their Trademark rights and requesting it’s surrender or transfer to them. Are Trademark owners allowed to take your Domain Name which you have registered away from you under the the law?

THEFT OR STEALING APPLIES ONLY TO PROPERTY

The first thing to understand is that most people including business talk about ‘owning‘ a registered name as if it is legal property. However domain name law doesn’t ascribe the status of property to a registered name. The legal character of a name is a renewable form of permission or licence to use the name for a specified period of time under a Registration Agreement. By contrast, by law, property is something which can be owned, mortgaged, assigned, or bequeathed under a Will. Therefore a Domain Name cannot be legally stolen.

Only one Court has ever characterised a domain name as property. A registered name is like a telephone number or car registration plates. You have the right or permission to use them which you acquire from a licensing body, but they never really belong to you or are legally owned by you. Neither can you own a business name or a company name, as they don’t have the legal status of property, although if your business name, company name or personal name has been used as a trademark in trade or commerce and has acquired a reputation in the market for goods or services, it may have acquired what is known as common law trademark status.

There have been cases where a Domain Name holder has accused a Domain Name Registrar of being negligent and allowing their Domain Name to be fraudulently registered or stolen by a party who has submitted false papers to the Registrar. This occurred in the sex.com case in 1995, however this situation is not the focus of this article which discusses whether or not a person claiming they have Trademark rights in your Domain Name can take your name away from you.

HOW DOMAIN NAMES ARE ALLOCATED

Domain names are allocated on a first come first served basis. By contrast when an Applicant files a Trademark Application they are applying for a registered grant of legal property. Property can be stolen or subject to theft, not a revocable licence or permission. There are two ways a Trademark Owner can try to take your domain name away from you which often feels like theft as you are being deprived of something which you have purchased and may have put a lot of time, energy and effort into selecting. Domain name law consists of a number of different legal actions and administrative procedures which consider aspects of international trademark law, e-commerce and internet law to resolve domain name disputes.

1. SUBMITTING A COMPLAINT UNDER ICAAN’S DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY

A person asserting they have legal rights to your registered name under law cannot just ask you to surrender it to them. If you don’t believe the Trademark Owner has a sound claim, the Trademark Owner must either sue you in a Court of law to recover the name or have the dispute heard under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN) which created the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The Trademark Owner pays a filing fee of $1500 to have the matter heard before one Panelist or $4000 to request the matter be decided by three Panelists.

A Trademark owner can bring a Court action for what is called the tort of passing off, misleading and deceptive conduct, and trademark infringement.

Alternatively a Trademark owner can file an online dispute under the UDRP created by ICANN. When you sign up for a registration, nobody questions whether you are legally eligible to use name. Most people don’t search company registers, Trademark Registers and other sources to check whether their name might conflict with a Trademark which is in existence.

The UDRP Policy is one which you agree as a condition of your registration of your Domain Name to abide by when you purchase it and electronically sign a Registration Agreement. The Agreement says to your knowledge, your registration does not infringe upon or violate the rights of a third-party. It is your legal responsibility to ensure when you register a name you are not violating the law. The UDRP Policy contains rules to resolve disputes for most top-level generic domain names, although some countries will have their own Dispute Resolution Policies which vary slightly from the UDRP Rules. Therefore it is important to consult the relevant Registration Agreement to acquaint yourself with the Rules which will be applied to your dispute.

You also agree to submit to a mandatory legal proceeding called arbitration by an Approved or Accredited Dispute Resolution Provider if a disagreement arises. A complaint can be filed online by a Trademark Owner who says you are using their Trademark unlawfully and the dispute will be registered and sent to you via email at the address listed under your whois information. It is important to keep your whois registration details up to date.

The whole procedure takes place online and no oral evidence is heard, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The dispute usually is heard in the language of the Registration Agreement. Only written submissions of both parties are considered and a decision may be available within sixty days. There are no legal costs under this procedure nor does the Respondent have to pay the Complainant’s legal costs even if they lose the dispute. Registrants can represent themselves, hire a Lawyer or a specialist. Either party can appeal the decision of the Arbitrator to a Court of Law within 10 days if dissatisfied with the decision.

Before an Arbitrator approved to hear disputes under the UDRP Policy will cancel, suspend, or transfer a domain name, the Trademark Owner must satisfy them of each and every one of the following under the UDRP Rules: -

1. the trademark owner owns a trademark (either registered or unregistered) that is the same or confusingly similar to the registered second level domain name;

2. the party that registered the domain name has no legitimate right or interest in the domain name; and

3. the domain name was registered and used in bad faith

These requirements are listed under para 4 of the Policy.

The Trademark Owner has to submit proof of either a Certificate of Registration of their Trademark to the Panel or evidence they have a common law trademark acquired by prior usage which is confusingly similar or identical to the name in dispute. The Panel only looks at the name to the left of the.com or.net suffix in evaluating the names. Also, if the Respondent has only added a generic word such as ‘online’ or a ‘geographic indicator’ to an otherwise identical trademark, this addition won’t prevent the domain name being evaluated as confusingly similar to the Trademark.

If the Trademark Owner proves element one, the burden of proof shifts to the holder of the name to prove element two. The UDRP Rules in para 4 (c) list the criteria to determine whether the domain name holder has a legitimate right or interest in the domain name based on the evidence, facts and quality of legal argument. For example, one of the factors is whether, prior to receiving notice of the dispute, they had been preparing to use the name to sell goods or services in good faith. If the website hasn’t been developed yet this might involve submitting evidence of a business plan.

Another factor is whether as an individual, company or business entity, a registrant has been known by a name that corresponds to the domain name. An alternative consideration is whether you are legitimately using the name in a non-commercial way for some other legitimate purpose. For instance some people set up fan sites to honour their favourite sports star, celebrity or set up a review, parody site, or a political site, which can be regarded as fair use. An important factor may be whether the site was set up with an intention to profit from the Trademark by misleading consumers into thinking that there is some connection between yourself and the trademark owner or is ruining their image.

The Panel will review evidence to decide whether you have both registered and used a name in bad faith under domain law, which includes buying it with the intention of selling it back at an inflated price to either the Trademark owner or a third-party. The Panel may look at any previous patterns of conduct in your registrations, and whether you are using the domain name to deprive the Trademark owner of the opportunity to use their trademark in a website address, or deliberately diverting their traffic to your website by creating confusion in consumers minds that you are associated with the Trademark Owner.

It is hard to state exhaustively how all the domain name laws are applied in practice, but you can get a better understanding of the way the Arbitrators apply the rules by reading both the Dispute Resolution Policy and the index of decisions available on the internet under the World Intellectual Property Dispute (WIPO) website. This will help you formulate your factual and legal arguments. As a Respondent you must file your Response within 20 days of the commencement of the administrative proceeding otherwise you will be in default and the dispute will be heard based only on the Complainant’s submissions..

The process if faster, cheaper and informal than going to Court and the Panelists are experts in domain name law, trademark law, internet law and e-commerce.

However it is still open to the Respondent to bring Court action to have the domain name law dispute decided.

2. BRINGING COURT ACTION IN THE COURTS

Most decisions which have been heard in the Courts have involved causes of action such as trade mark infringement, or unregistered trade mark infringement, otherwise known as the tort of passing off, frequently coupled with an action for breach of Trade Practices law in Australia or unfair competition legislation in the United States.

America has enacted legislation specific to cyber law called the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Law Protection Act 1999 which allows a dispute to be brought in the US Courts against a foreign national under some circumstances. It was designed with the intent of preventing people registering, trafficking in or using a name confusing similar to, or which dilutes the Trademark owner’s mark or name.

Bringing action in any Court whether jurisdiction in a US Court or the Court of another country can be satisfied involves delay, expense and uncertainty when it comes to enforcing judgement.

However some Trademark Owners bring Court claims as there are remedies available other than the cancellation or transfer of the domain name, such as damages and under exceptional circumstances Lawyer’s costs.

CONCLUSION

Whilst Trademark Owners can sometimes try to steal your name from you, this is not the way the law characterises the rights of the Trademark Owner when they bring a dispute either in the Courts or through the administrative online procedure. Whether they succeed in taking your name from you depends on all the facts and circumstances and the manner in which you argue your case.

Kampala Needs to Borrow from Kigali – Where Bodas Obey Rules

Nothing is impossible. Once a motorbike rider is arrested in Kigali, Rwanda, they are forever banned from operating from the city. Theirs is an organised mode of this transport that is the exact opposite of Uganda’s operations that are marred by total madness.

Coming from a chaotic city, Kampala, where the boda boda riders operate in a lawless manner, my maiden safari to Rwanda, i made a maiden visit to Kigali and this made me think I was in dream land, as I observed the motorcycle riders do their thing in an orderly manner.

Kigali city just like any developing city in the world, is no exception to using the motorcycle transport as it is the quickest and most preferred means of transport especially when one is late or needs to beat traffic jam.

Their boda bodas are locally referred to as moto-moto and the riders are called abamotari.
According to Charles Rusimbi, the in-charge of Youth, Sports and Culture at Kigali City Council (KCC), the orderliness among the moto-moto riders, is largely brought about beacause they formed cooperatives that bring them together.

Rusimbi explained that there are about 18 cooperatives that work hand in hand with the traffic police to enforce discipline and law and also acts as a saving scheme.
He said their main aim is to have the road users religiously follow the traffic signs without the presence of a traffic officer.

He further explained that for any moto-moto rider to start riding in Kigali City, they must be registered or risk being arrested, fined or banned from riding in the city. While the rule of helmets has never really been enforced in Uganda, In Kigali both the rider and I had to wear helmets which have his identification numbers, well as mobile phone number engraved on them. This I learnt enables authorities track the moto motos.

Just one passenger please
Throughout my weeklong visit to Kigali, not at any time did I see any moto-moto carrying more than one passenger. Additionally, female passengers, are supposed to sit astride like men and they are not allowed to take their babies on the motorbikes. A uniform jacket which has the trade mark of giant telecom company Tigo is worn by every amotari.

Kigali has designated parking stages for riders where they wait for passengers. You hardly find riders roaming in town looking for passengers; instead it is the passengers who move to those designated stages for their services. The best part is that riders are given training and riding permits before hitting the road. According to Rusimbi, this move is aimed at reducing on the rate of accidents since the riders would have had hands-on practice instructed by experts and also are able to read the traffic rules.

In Uganda it’s the opposite as anyone who can ride a motorbike starts business, little wonder the high rate of accidents caused by the boda boda riders in the city.

Traffic lights are not toys
I was so amazed when it came to the traffic lights, the moto-moto riders unlike here in Uganda, stop and follow the traffic lights and move when they are supposed to move. They also do not ride on the pavements as is the case here.
Despite such stringent measures, there are errant moto-moto riders who do not obey the rules put in place. New Times national newspaper, quotes this year’s police statistics showing that motorcycles are responsible for 80 per cent of road accidents recorded annually, especially in Kigali city.

The causes of accidents are attributed to reluctance by motorcyclists to observe traffic rules and regulations in order to ensure road safety.
In Uganda, police statistics and the Injury Control Centre lately have shown that users of boda boda and the riders themselves have been killed in more crashes than all other vehicle accidents.

According to Police Statistics from the Traffic Department, in 2008, out of 16,736 accidents, a total of 3,434 were caused by boda boda riders and 1,001 by bicycles. 47 per cent of the accidents in that year were also caused by motor cycles and bicycles, which represent 99.9 per cent for boda boda and 1 per cent for private use. The trend was even worse in 2009 and continued to slip in 2010. With such overwhelming numbers, Uganda has a lot to learn from its neighbour, Rwanda.