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Find out information on intellectual property rights protection in Sri Lanka.
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Intellectual Property Rights in Sri Lanka

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) means the rights resulting from the creations of the human mind. It generally embraces the rights relating to literary and artistic works, performances of performing artist’s sound recordings and broadcast, inventions, industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, commercial names and designations.
The current Intellectual Property system in Sir Lanka is governed by the Intellectual Property Act No 36 of 2003 which makes provisions for a variety of Intellectual Property rights and their acquisition, management and enforcement. The National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka established under this law is the government department, which is responsible for the administration of the intellectual Property System in Sri Lanka.
Patents protect inventions and ensure the inventors the benefits resulting from the inventions thereby providing incentives for creativity, encouraging further inventions and promoting investment. This will spur the economic and technological development. Patent documents describe newly invented technologies and are available for anyone to refer to. They contain vital information for researchers, inventors and enterprises etc. who want to keep up with new developments, carry out R&D activities and use new technologies.
An invention is patentable if it
  • Is new (not known in the body of existing knowledge)
  • Industrially applicable (functional and operative) and
  • Involves an inventive step (the development or improvement is not obvious to a person of average skill in the particular field) 
A mark- trademark or service mark- is a visible sign that is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of different enterprises. A trademark relates to goods whereas a service mark relates to services. In addition, there are two more kind of marks – certification marks and collective marks. A certification mark is a mark which meets a defined standard of the goods or services as certified by the owner of the mark who licenses others to use it. A collective mark is a mark serving to distinguish the origin or any other common characteristic of goods or services of different enterprises which use the Mark under the control of the registered owner.   
A mark may consists of a word, a symbol, a device, letters, numerals, a name, surname or geographical name, a combination or arrangement of colors and shapes of goods or containers etc. The visible sign must always be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of different enterprises (it must be distinctive).
Industrial Designs
It is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. It does not have any functional character. A design can be three dimensional such as shape of an article (design for a toy, bottle, jewelry or chair etc.) or two dimensional such as pattern or lines. (Design for a greeting card etc).
A design is protected if it is new and if it does not consist of scandalous design or a design contrary to morality, public order or public interest. A design is new if it has not been made available to the public anywhere in the world before the date of application for registration. They are protected upon registration with the Intellectual Property Office. A registered design is protected for five years and renewable for two more periods of five years.

Last Updated on: 19-05-2010

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