Intellectual property laws should be amended - BOI chief | Sunday Observer

Intellectual property laws should be amended - BOI chief

Counterfeiting of goods has a detrimental effect on Foreign Direct Investment. It is necessary to address the issue as otherwise it will cause an adverse impact on economic growth, Board of Investment Chairman Upul Jayasuriya told a panel discussion on the subject of combating counterfeits in Colombo last week.

Laws regarding intellectual property should be amended to suit modern times, he said.

“The country ranks 169 out of 190 countries in the implementation of judiciary process and enforcement of contract. This is not at all satisfactory.

“We need to improve on the ranking and the speeding up of the implementation process should be set in motion without further delay,” he said.

There were 10,380 trade mark related applications during the past year and 3,800 were approved. Though there is a delay in the process, it is being addressed at present. The significance of registering a trade mark arises when a matter of litigation comes up and it help the process to move smoothly, he said.

The BOI, with the Customs are addressing some of the issues with regard to counterfeit goods.

Half a trillion dollars of world trade or 2.5 percent is in counterfeit goods and this is a global issue.

“We need to further strengthen intellectual property rights and create an enabling environment for creators to work in. The laws regarding copyrights needs to be upgraded,” he said.

The Customs is the biggest revenue collector for the government as it collects Rs 2,000 million per day. This is 52 percent of the government’s total revenue.

“With regard to intellectual property rights, the criminal law process should be activated. In Sri Lanka, trade marks and registrations are low compared to the other countries and this needs to be improved. We need to have an efficient, cost effective and high speed intellectual property litigation mechanism in place,” he said.

“There should be a naming and shaming system even in the judiciary. The judges should be accountable and they should have a proper working schedule. We need to speed up court proceedings and reduce unnecessary delays,” Jayasuriya said.