Lanka’s apex Intellectual Property body goes live

Monday, 24 February 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • F.J. & G. de Saram’s Suganthi Kadirgamar at the helm of national IP Commission
  • 8 lawyers, an Ayurveda doc, among the members
  • “Want your support for IP development!” – Rishad
  • “Expect major change to copyright law!” – Swaminathan
  • Attorney Dinal, Julius and Creasy’s Swaminathan, continuing
  • Latest Commission to end its term in Feb-2017
The next three year term of Sri Lanka’s national intellectual property governing body began on 20 February in Colombo and it is to be headed by the Senior Partner of Sri Lanka’s oldest law firm. Also, major changes to present copyright laws for better protection of the creators, are in the offing. “I thank all of you for taking up this assignment. I request your valuable support to further advance our intellectual properties from today,” said a pleased Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 20 February in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the 10 of the 11 members of the newly appointed Intellectual Property Advisory Commission of Sri Lanka (IPACSL) on 20 February at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo. The IPACSL is the guiding mechanism advising the National Intellectual Property Office under the Minister of Industry and Commerce on matters on IP & patents and their future direction. Bathiudeen was making the appointments on 20 February as per Section 162 of Intellectual Property Act No 36 of 2003 which stipulates, “The Minister may constitute an Advisory Commission for the purpose of advising him in relation to the law relating to Copyright, Industrial Designs, Marks, Patents, and unfair competition and any other area or subject of intellectual property.” As such, Minister Bathiudeen has appointed Suganthi Wijayasuriya-Kadirgamar as the new Chairperson of IPACSL. Kadirgamar is the Senior Partner of Sri Lanka’s oldest law firm, F.J. & G. de Saram. JM Swaminathan (Attorney at Law and senior partner of Julius and Creasy, one of the oldest civil law firms in Sri Lanka), Dinal Philips (Attorney at Law), Anura Jayasinghe (Attorney at Law), Palitha Gamage (Attorney at Law), S. Subairtheen (former Banker), Gazzali Hussain (Attorney at Law), Nadeesha Guruge (Musician),  MKM Sajath (Attorney at Law), and Dr. Danister Perera (Ayurveda Physician) are the other appointed members while Geethanjali Ranawaka (Director-General of Intellectual Property) becomes the ex-officio member. “We thank Minister Bathiudeen for honouring us with these appointments,” said Kadirgamar, the new Chairperson of the Commission, responding to Minister Bathiudeen. “We will give our best support to make Sri Lanka a modern commercial state,” Kadirgamar added. “Every three years this Commission is being re-appointed. I have been in this Commission for almost every term except for a short time. We have been working on various amendments from time to time. Plant varieties, traditional knowledge, amendment to copyright sections, Geographic Indicators (GI), Treaty on copyright for disabled,” said JM Swaminathan (Attorney at Law and senior partner of Julius and Creasy. “There has been quite a demand for Sri Lanka’s GI regime to be changed as per the demands of global export market saying that the present laws on that need to be strengthened. A sub-committee was appointed, and it is now recommended for certain amendments as interim measure and final measure. Quite a lot of work on traditional knowledge legal framework upgrade has been done and some of them will be completed during the course of 2014.” “More importantly, there is no provision under our law for copyright registration currently. In other words, if you write a book, under the current system, and someone copies it, it is your duty to go to the courts and prove that you have authored it. With the forthcoming changes to our copyright laws, the author can do an optional registration of the book as soon as it is completed so that there is a proof of title benefitting the author when a copyright claim arises,” Swaminathan added.