Trade mark registrations on the rise - Verite Research

Research reveals that the demand for registering trademarks by Sri Lankan businesses locally and abroad has been growing during the past decade. Registering trademarks in the country of manufacture and the export destination is an essential requirement for exports.

A recent study by Verite Research reveals that Sri Lankan businesses are increasingly venturing into branding and that brands need legal safeguards against copying. Trademarks reflects the name and the insignia of the brand and provides legal safeguards against duplication of brands. According to data published by the National Intellectual Property Organisation (NIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the average number of local trademark applications per year has increased by over 40% in the last decade compared to the previous decade.

These statistics suggest that Sri Lankan firms benefit significantly from Sri Lanka’s accession to the Madrid Protocol. However, local businesses frequently encounter major bottlenecks in registering their trademarks in Sri Lanka. Exporters complain that registering trademarks in other countries is a costly, time consuming and a daunting task .

It is in this backdrop that that the government decided to accede to the Madrid Protocol in 2015. The Madrid protocol is a simplified global system for registering trademarks abroad. Registering trademarks in Sri Lanka is a vital step to benefiting from the Madrid Protocol. However, accession to the Madrid Protocol does not necessarily help address the connected challenge faced by Sri Lankan business.

According to Verite Research there is significant policy discussion on the importance of ’value added’ products to enhancing export revenue in Sri Lanka. The failure to address these problems in Sri Lanka could significantly limit the benefits of joining the Madrid Protocol, research notes.

The research further notes that accession to the Madrid Protocol will make the process of registering trademarks abroad simple, fast, predictable and less costly. The inconsistency could lead to foreign applications being prioritised over local applications. At present, it takes the National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) three to five years to process a trademark application in Sri Lanka. Failure to rectify this problem limits the benefits of acceding to the Madrid Protocol, Verite Research notes.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said local trade mark registration needs extensive research and that the lack of personnel in the task are reasons for the delay in processing trade mark registration.

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