Sri Lanka moves to secure original export brands

Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

As its exports destinations turn challenging, in a move to safeguard its renowned country of origin exports in international markets, Sri Lanka is strengthening its global trademark and patent regime. Sri Lanka is also moving up in the Global Property Rankings index.

“Today we start the first-ever knowledge session on safeguarding export products originating from Sri Lanka such as Ceylon cinnamon and Ceylon tea. Similar to ‘Geographical Indications,’ the protection coverage we can obtain by acceding to Lisbon and Madrid agreements can help us safeguard our original exports as international markets turn very competitive,” noted Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 28 November.  

Bathiudeen added: “I am pleased to announce that Sri Lanka has successfully moved up in the latest International Property Rights Index rankings. We have advanced from 77 last year, to 76 in this year’s index in which 130 countries are ranked. These 130 countries together represent almost 97 per cent of world’s total GDP.”  The minister was addressing the first-ever wide ranging stakeholder awareness cum feedback WIPO Info Sessions on accession to Madrid and Lisbon Systems held in Sri Lanka on 28 November, held at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo.

The session was jointly organised by the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Lanka Nat-ional Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) and the Department of Commerce (DoC) for Sri Lankan participants from various chambers, the private sector and Government regulatory agencies, including officials of NIPO and DoC, and other relevant stakeholders.

This session provided the participants with ample opportunities to exchange and share views and experience with the experts that arrived in Sri Lanka from WIPO’s Filipino and Hungarian offices on the Lisbon and Madrid System.  

89 countries are covered in the Madrid Protocol of 1989 which documents the International Regi-stration of Marks while the Lisbon Agreement, adopted in 1958, has 27 countries as ‘contracting parties’ and focuses on Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration. Bathiudeen revealed: “Within the International Property Rights Index rankings, our regional ranking is a strong 13 out of 19. And within this index, our intellectual property ranking alone is 91 out of 130 countries in 2012. We are lower than Thailand and Kuwait, but stand higher than Indonesia and Venezuela, among others, in intellectual property rankings.

I am also pleased to say that the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka showed significant progress and registered 272 new patents in 2011, while in mid-September this year it registered another 104 patents. In 2011, it registered 1,379 trademarks and by mid-September this year, it registered 1,302 trademarks already. It also successfully Vienna coded 880 trademarks in 2011, while by mid-September this year, it Vienna coded another 491 trademarks, bringing Sri Lanka’s trademarks to international levels.”