COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s government has approved changes to intellectual property laws giving better protection for its main agricultural exports like Ceylon tea under global ‘Geographical Indicators’ rules.
The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen to change section 204 of the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003, a statement said.
This will safeguard the interests of the producers and exports of "Ceylon Tea, Pure Ceylon Tea, Sri LankaTea, Pure Sri Lanka Tea, Ceylon Cinnamon, Pure Ceylon Cinnamon, Sri Lanka Cinnamon, Pure Sri Lanka Cinnamon and Sri Lanka Kurundu," it said.
The new law also enables similar IP protection for any other product originating in Sri Lanka that may be identified by the minister as qualifying for recognition under ‘Geographical Indicators’ rules.
Sri Lankan exporters have for years been seeking GI protection under the World Trade Organisation intellectual property rights rules known as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
The industry is keen on getting the GI recognition as it could be used as a marketing tool, like French wines which were among the first products to be registered under the WTO regime.
The rules for geographical indicators enable registration of products based on defined growing areas as well as distinct product characteristics.