Sri Lanka, an island country located in the Indian Ocean, is a mesmerizing place with captivating scenery. However, little is known about its Intellectual Property practice. The National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) is responsible for the administration of the Intellectual Property System in Sri Lanka.

Madrid Protocol

The Madrid Protocol has simplified the process of filing a trademark application in multiple countries and is one of the two treaties comprising the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks. It is merely a cost-effective and efficient solution for brand owners and businesses to seek protection in multiple countries by simply filing a single application in one office and one language without engaging a local counsel or agent in each country to file the application for trademark registration.

Sri Lanka’s accession to the Madrid Protocol

The decision to accede to the Madrid Protocol has been a debate for the past 3 to 4 years in Sri Lanka. While the country had agreed to accede to the Madrid protocol in 2017, for unknown reasons it was pushed to 2018 and further again to 2020. Finally, they have agreed to accede to the Madrid Protocol by mid-2020. As on February 23, 2020, according to news report, the Government of Sri Lanka has finally given their nod for Sri Lanka to accede to the Madrid Protocol. At present, the necessary amendments have been made to the present laws to facilitate Sri Lanka’s entry into the Madrid protocol. The draft is currently being reviewed and will then be submitted to WIPO for approval followed by the subsequent admission into the Madrid System.

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Beneficiaries of Sri Lanka acceding to the Madrid Protocol

Businesses in Sri Lanka expanding their businesses in other countries as well as global businesses looking at entering the markets in Sri Lanka would greatly benefit from the accession of Sri Lanka to the Madrid Protocol. The primary benefit for businesses in Sri Lanka would be savings in the costs incurred for filing their trademarks in other countries and likewise, foreign businesses in seeking protection of the trademarks in Sri Lanka, not to mention the ease of seeking protection in several countries in a single application and subsequent maintenance of the trademark registration such as amendments & renewals in several countries carried out with a single application.

While five months have passed since 2020 therefore, bringing us to ‘mid-2020’, there has been no announcement yet from WIPO regarding the same. Parallelly, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to etch the air and therefore, a delay is explainable and expected. Nevertheless, a final decision can be made out only with the passage of time.