Copycats

Oct 12, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan companies should keep a close tab on the trade marks registry to ensure protection of their own marks, an intellectual property rights lawyer said Monday. Not being alert may result in copycat competitors registering similar trade marks and capturing market share, president’s counsel Harsha Cabral said.

From multinational Unilever’s Sunlight soap, a household name in the island for decades, to the more recent, fashionable Odel clothing store, there were a growing number of cases concerning trade mark violations.

There was an average of 75-100 cases instituted each year in the commercial high court which handles all island trade mark cases with the complainants going for injunctions or seeking damages.

“There is inadequate awareness of the value and importance of protecting intellectual property rights (IPR),” Cabral told a meeting on IPR organised by the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

“There’s a lot of value in intangible property, especially in new areas like software. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka there’s not enough awareness of the value of intellectual property, even though intangible property can be more valuable than othe