Steady progress: IP in Sri Lanka


Sudath Perera and Shanika Gunawardena

The law governing intellectual property rights in Sri Lanka is the Intellectual Property Act No 36 of 2003, based on the World Trade Organization Agreement on TRIPS. The IP Act provides an array of options for enforcing IP rights.

Criminal action

Criminal actions can be instituted by the rights holder. Actions can be filed in the form of a private complaint in the Magistrates’ Court. Once a search warrant is obtained, a raid will be conducted by the police. The goods will be seized and put in the custody of court until the conclusion of the matter, where the goods will be destroyed upon a magistrate’s order. The accused will very often settle the matter by giving an undertaking in court.

The option of filing a criminal action through the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for execution by the police further strengthens the enforcement of IP rights in Sri Lanka. Under the IP Act a person found guilty of an offence on conviction aft er trial before a magistrate is liable for a fine up to Rs500,000 ($4350), or imprisonment of six months, or both. For a second conviction, the punishment can be doubled.

TRIPS, Sri Lanka Intellectual Property Act, CID, counterfeiting, trade dress