IP Practice In Sri Lanka

The Patent rights are protected and governed by Code of Intellectual Property Act No.52 of 1979, in Sri-Lanka. The State grants inventor his Patent rights for a span of 20years,in which no one else is allowed to make, use and sell the qualified invention except when others are licensed to do so.

Sri Lanka is a member of the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property, therefore,  Sri Lankans can obtain patents for their inventions in any member country of the Paris Convention under the national law of the relevant country.  This Convention provides for the Applicants to claim priority.

All Sri Lankan nationals or residents can apply under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) administered by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

Counties which the applicant intends to file national application later must be designated in the PCT application. PCT application has the same effect as a national application filed in the designated countries.

Patent Application
  1. An application for the grant of a patent shall be made to the Director-General in the prescribed form and shall contain—

  • a request for the grant of the patent;

  • a description of the patent;

  • a claim or claims;

  • a drawing or drawings, where required;

  • an abstract;

  • date and number of any application for a patent filed by the applicant abroad (hereinafter referred to as the “foreign application”), if any, relating to the same, or essentially the same invention as that claimed in the present application ;

  • a declaration that the applicant or his predecessor in title has not obtained a patent abroad before the application was filed relating to the same or essentially the same invention as that claimed in the application.

  1. Every person that is giving an application has to furnish a report of a search in the time that is prescribed by the authorities. The applicant can also request the Director-General to refer his application a examiner who shall do the require examination with due regard to the description and the drawings, if any, and furnish a report to the Director-General within the prescribed period. for the purposes of the search the examiner shall make reference to every documentation on prior art available to him.

Inventions Which Are Not Patentable

Following are not patentable:

(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;

(b) plants, animals and other micro organism other than transgenic micro organism and an essentially biological process for the production of plants and animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes : Provided however, that a patent granted in respect of micro-organisms shall be subject to the provisions of this Act;

(c) schemes, rules, or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games;

(d) methods for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, and diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body : Provided however, any product used in any such method shall be patentable;

(e) an invention which is useful in the utilization of special nuclear material or atomic energy in an atomic weapon ; Definition of invention. 50 Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003;

(f) any invention, the prevention within Sri Lanka of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect the public order, morality including the protection of human, animal or plant life or health or the avoidance of serious prejudice to the environment.

Right To A Patent

(1)  The right to a patent shall belong to the inventor, keeping in mind that no prior patent’s rights are being used while making an application for this patent. If yes, then proper permissions have to be taken according to the prescribed provisions of the Act.

(2) Where two or more persons have jointly made an invention, the right to a patent shall belong to them jointly.

(3) If and to the extent to which two or more persons have made the same invention independently of each other, the person whose application has the earliest filling date or, if priority is claimed, the earliest validly claimed priority date, shall have the right to the patent, so long as that application is not withdrawn, abandoned or rejected.

Grant Of Patent

On examining the Patent application, when Director General is convinced that the Patent fulfils all the requirements as specified in the statute,  then the applicant is  issued a certificate for grant of the patent together with a copy of the patent documents including the search report. The grant of Patent, shall then be published in published in the Gazette.

Term Of Patent

Patent shall expire twenty years after the filing date of application for its registration.

Nullity Of Patent

Section 99 provides that the Court may on the application of any person showing a legitimate interest, or of any Competent Authority including the Director-General, to which the owner of the patent and every assignee, licensee or sub-licensee on record shall be made party, declare the patent null and void on any one or more of the following grounds :—

a) subject not being an invention and do not satisfy with the requirement as per the Patent Act of Sri Lanka
b) that the description or the claims of the subject, fails to satisfy the requirements of the Statute or
c) that any drawings required for the understanding of the claimed invention have not been furnished ;
d) that the right to the patent belongs to a person other than the person to whom the patent was granted.