WIPO supports Sri Lanka’s legislation on Traditional Knowledge

wood carving traditional knowledge Intellectual property craft

Apr 03, 2017 (LBO) – The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will support Sri Lanka’s efforts to draft a national policy on ‘Traditional Knowledge’ and ‘Traditional Cultural Expressions,’ its Director General Francis Gurry said recently.

WIPO’s national and cross-regional workshops on this theme, to be held in Colombo in April, will support the push for legislation, he said.

Traditional knowledge (TK) is considered to be a living body of knowledge passed on from generation to generation within a community.

It often forms part of a people’s cultural and spiritual identity. WIPO’s program on TK also addresses genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions.

Gurry commended Sri Lanka for enhancing national capacities in several areas of intellectual property in recent years, and for continued cooperation and active engagement with WIPO.

He made these observations when he met Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthaka Lokuhetti in Geneva last week, on the sidelines of the 37th Session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications.

Lokuhetti noted that the cabinet had approved amendments to the Intellectual Property Act No.36 of 2003, which aims to facilitate registration of “Geographical Indications” in Sri Lanka and safeguard the interests of the producers and exports of Ceylon Tea and Ceylon Cinnamon.

The proposed amendment, as an interim measure, to protect Geographical Indications (GIs) has now been gazetted, and will be tabled in parliament shortly. The National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka is making preparations to issue GI registration certificates accordingly.

Lokuhetti also met Minelik Getahun, assistant director general of the ‘global issues sector’ of WIPO who will participate in workshops and celebration of ‘World IP Day’ to be held in the week of 24th April in Colombo.

Getahun will be the most high-level official from WIPO since Gurry’s visit in November 2013, when a 10 Point GoSL-WIPO Intellectual Property Action Plan was initiated.

Lokuhetti said support of WIPO was also sought in the formulation of the national IP policy for Sri Lanka, accession to Madrid Protocol and development of IP Hubs within Sri Lanka.

Support would include strengthening the capacity of the National IP office (NIPO), in terms of structure, human resources and skills, including the development of middle level management.

Officials from Sri Lanka will undertake a study visit to the Republic of Korea in June, with the objective of learning from best practices in establishing a coherent IP strategy.