Sri Lanka to protect Ceylon Tea intellectual property

Feb 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is seeking protection for the Ceylon Tea brand and seven growing areas under international intellectual property laws that cover products under ‘geographical indicators’, a government minister said. Sri Lanka Tea Board, a state regulatory body, has been authorized to seek protection under the provisions of the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), information minister Anura Yapa said.

“Many countries are mis-using the Pure Ceylon Tea brand and labeling tea with as little as 6 percent Sri Lankan tea,” Yapa told reporters.

The Tea Board will also seek registration of seven tea growing areas; Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, Uva, Udapusellawa, Kandy, Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa.

Geographical indicators allow a TRIPS member country to define the growing area of a particular product as well as quality standards.

A note submitted to Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers said the Tea Board has already registered every factory in each agro-climatic region.

The names will then be registered by the Tea Board in major tea importing countries, the cabinet note said.

The Tea Board has also submitted an application to the intellectual property organization in Sri