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Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is an island nation in South Asia, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and the Gulf of Mannar. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Topographically the island consists of a south central mountainous region which rises to an elevation of 2,502m and is surrounded by broad lowland plains at an elevation of 0-75 m above sea level. It is divided into nine provinces and 25 districts, with Sri Jayewardenepura-Kotte as the capital city and Colombo being the largest city. Sri Lanka is famous for its rich biodiversity, large cinnamon and tea exportation, and stunning natural wonders! It’s also known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and has diverse cultural and religious elements across the nation. Sri Lanka controls the three continents of the Indian Ocean, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Sri Lanka is a major waterway hub with important ports such as Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee, and Hambantota. Sri Lanka is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. This tiny island nation is only 9,833,517 sq km but it has a huge range of diverse landscapes to offer. Sri Lanka is home to some of the most valuable and unique gemstones in the world such as Ceylon Sapphire varieties including Padparadscha and Blue Sapphires. The country is celebrated for high prized large sapphires and Star Sapphires.
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Sri Lanka’s Judiciary is a legal system which is a combination of English common law, Roman-Dutch civil law and Customary Law. Statutes enacted by Parliament form the primary source of law. Judicial precedents, statutes enacted by Provincial Councils and customs and usage also constitute the law of the land. Sri Lanka has a mixed legal system of English common law, Roman-Dutch law, Muslim law, and customary law. Sources of law include the Constitution, statutes, judicial precedent, textual precedent, and customs. Sri Lanka has remained a constitutional democracy since independence from British colonial rule in 1948. The Judiciary of Sri Lanka are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in Sri Lanka. The Constitution of Sri Lanka defines courts as independent institutions within the traditional framework of checks and balances. The basis of the legal system is the Constitution, which was promulgated as law in 1978 repealing the previous Constitution adopted and enacted in 1972. The judiciary consist of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, district court (Sri Lanka)s, magistrate’s court (Sri Lanka)s, and primary courts. Although provisions are there for trials for serious offences to be held before a jury, at present all cases are heard before professional judges.

Intellectual Property in Sri Lanka

Intellectual Property in Sri Lanka commenced in the year 1860 where the first patent was granted on the 22nd of November 1860. The intellectual property law in Sri Lanka is of British origin. There are several statues governing IP in Sri Lanka, the most recent being the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003, which came into effect on the 12th of November 2003 and makes provisions for a variety of intellectual property rights and their acquisition, management and enforcement. The Intellectual Property Rights Act encompasses protection for Copyright, Patent and trademark, with the intention to meet WTO TRIPS obligations. The National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) of Sri Lanka is the Government insitution which administraters the national IP system. Sri Lanka has signed a number of major IPR treaties, such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) copyright treaty, the Berne Convention for Literary and Artistic Works, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Patent in Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka is a member of the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property, Sri Lankans can obtain patents for their inventions in any member country of the Paris Convention under the national law of the relevant country. All Sri Lankan nationals or residents can apply under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) administered by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. To get a patent right, one must make an application to NIPO which takes approximately three years to decide whether to approve the patent grant or to reject the patent application. As is followed by all countries regarding the priority filing, Sri Lanka also undertakes a similar procedure whereby the filing of the patent must be done at the priority so that any other inventor must not claim priority over your invention. The right is given for a limited period of time, generally 20 years from the filing date of the relevant application.

Trademark in Sri Lanka

Marks registered in Sri Lanka are valid only in the territory of Sri Lanka. Multiple class trademark applications are not possible in Sri Lanka. The separate application should be filed for each class. A word, a symbol, a device, letters, numerals, a name, surname or geographical name, a combination or arrangement of colours and shapes of goods or containers may be registered as a trademark in Sri Lanka. The general period applicable for the registration of a mark where no objections are received is approximately 1 to 4 years. A registered mark is valid for a period of 10 years, such registration being renewable, within a period of 6 months from the date of expiry, for a further period of 10 years. It is possible to start trading or working in different field of activity only after registering a brand name in Sri Lanka. There are two types of marks: trademarks and service marks. A trademark distinguishes the source of goods and a service mark the source of services.

Industrial design in Sri Lanka

A design can be three dimensional such as shape of an article (design for a toy, bottle, jewelry or chair etc.) or two dimensional such as pattern or lines. (Design for a greeting card etc). A design is protected if it is new and if it does not consist of scandalous design or a design contrary to morality, public order or public interest. A design is new if it has not been made available to the public anywhere in the world before the date of application for registration. Sri Lanka is member of Paris Convention, therefore, it is possible to file Conventional Patent Application in Sri Lanka. For Conventional filing the deadline for filing application is 6 months from priority date. Generally, once granted, the protection of an industrial design is valid for a period of 5 years, renewable for periods up to 15 years in most cases. The owner of the design can exercise exclusive rights such as making, using, importing and exporting articles comprising of such protected design.

Copyright in Sri Lanka

The NIPO of Sri Lanka promotes the protection of copyright and related rights. However No registration system exists at the NIPO under copyright law. The Director General of the NIPO has been empowered to conduct dispute resolutions involving Copyrights and related rights. Sri Lanka has 4 international copyright agreements (the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works – 20 July 1959, the Universal Copyright Convention (Geneva) – 25 January 1984, the Universal Copyright Convention (Paris) – 25 January 1984), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights – 01 January 1995), and is a member country of The Berne Convention for Copyright. Whilst in some countries copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work is saved in material form, registering for copyright in Sri Lanka is extremely important in order for the copyright holder to have the all important proof of copyright.

IP enforcement in Sri Lanka

There are four aspects to the enforcement mechanism of IP laws in Sri Lanka: civil judicial procedures, criminal procedures and penalties, customs control and dispute resolution through the Director-General of Intellectual Property. The infringement of IP is a punishable offence in Sri Lanka. Such infrigements may result in civil litigation to obtain remedies such as injunctions and damages. The Sri Lanka Customs Department is a competent authority to prohibit import / export of goods in violation of IP rights. The intellectual property rights owner can file a civil suit in the court against people who infringe on their rights, threaten to infringe on their rights, or are likely to infringe on their rights under the Act. The owner has three remedies: injunction, damages, and other reliefs as the court may deem and equitable. In addition to this, the court has jurisdiction to issue orders dealing with enforcement of IP rights such as disposal of the infringing goods outside the commerce channel or distribution of goods with compensation.

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Eleven Facts About Sri Lanka You Might Not Know

1. It is nicknamed Pearl of the Indian Ocean and teardrop of India
Sri Lanka is known for these two lovely names. Pearl of the Indian Ocean is given to this small island nation probably due to its incredible natural beauty, extraordinary biodiversity as well as its precious gemstones. Besides, the island has a teardrop shape and is off the coast of India, which is easier to see from the map. That’s why it is also called the teardrop of India. Below is a Google map snapshot of Sri Lanka to give you an idea of its location and shape.

2. Tea is a big business in Sri Lanka
If you’re a tea drinker, your cuppa may come from Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, a name synonymous with tea. Brought from China in 1824 by the British, the first tea plant on the island was displayed in the Royal Botanical Gardens outside Kandy and has grown into a huge business. This teardrop island nation is still a leading tea producer and exporter, with over 1 million of its 22 million people working in the tea industry.

3. Adam’s Peak is the most sacred mountain in the country
Perched in the picturesque area of the southern Hill Country, this holy peak has been a mecca for people of various beliefs in Sri Lanka for over a thousand years. In Buddhism, the peak is known as Sri Pada, meaning sacred footprint, and is believed to have been left by the Buddha when he was going to paradise. For Hindus, it is Lord Shiva’s footprint. When asking Christians and Muslims, they would say it is the footprint of Adam as he was banished from the Garden of Eden.

4. The Sri Lankan national flag is one of the oldest in the world
The Flag of Sri Lanka, also known as Lion Flag, is considered one of the world’s oldest, dating back to 162 BC. It is also thought to be the only flag in the world to recognize different religious beliefs, with the bo leaves representing Buddhism, orange standing for Hinduism, and green for Islam.

5. One of Buddha’s Teeth is housed in a temple in Kandy
A sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, brought from India in the 4th century CE, is still preserved in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Every summer, there’s a grand festival known as Esala Perahera (Festival of the Tooth), one of Sri Lanka’s 7 best festivals, to honor the tooth. Learn more about this amazing festival: Kandy Festival of the Tooth.

6. It is the first country in the world to have a female prime minister
In July 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, won the victory in the general election and became the first woman prime minister in the world. She served the country for three terms before she resigned in August 2000 because of failing health. At the age of 84, Sirimavo Bandaranaike died of a heart attack in the same year after her vote in the parliamentary elections.

7. It has the highest literacy rate in South Asia
Sri Lanka attaches great importance to education and makes it a fundamental right in its Constitution. The country is said to have a literacy rate of 92%, making it the highest in South Asia as well as one of the highest in Asia.

8. It is home to the world’s oldest human-planted tree
The oldest tree planted by the human being rather than by natural seeding is in Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka. It is a sacred fig or bo-tree aged 2,300 years old and called Sri Maha Bodhiya. The tree was planted in 288 BC. Its mother tree is said to be the famous Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment when he was meditating.

9. Eat with your hands
If you want to eat like a local Sri Lankan, learn to eat with your hands (it’s harder than it sounds!). Many restaurants have sinks in the corner for guests to wash their hands before and after they eat for this reason. Take your right hand and gather rice and other food on your plate and mix it together. Then, pass it into your mouth. Traditionally, your left hand is used for holding the plate you’re eating from.

10. There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country
There are several beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. They are: The Sacred City of Kandy, The Ancient City of Sigiriya, The Sacred City of Anuradhapura, The Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications, The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.

11. The Sri Lankan Flag is the oldest in the world
One of my favourite historical facts about Sri Lanka, is that Sri Lanka’s flag dates all the way back to the 5th Century AD, making it officially the oldest flag on the planet. The golden lion on the flag was removed and then reintroduced, holding a golden sword, after Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948.

Bud & Prairie helps your business navigate Sri Lanka’s laws and regulations. Our solutions manage and process your issues, as well as enhance your potentialities. Partnering with Bud & Prairie means a quick, cost-effective, and compliant way to grow at the Sri Lanka market.

Sri Lanka employment and human resources

The National Human Resources and Employment Policy (NHREP) is the overarching policy framework of the Government of Sri Lanka that would govern its human resource development work and action to be taken to provide full, decent and productive employment to Sri Lankans. Labour Law in Sri Lanka encompasses all the rules an employer must follow when or after hiring employees. The public sector is governed by the Establishments Code, while three primary laws govern the private sector: (i) Shop and Office Employees Act – for shops and office employees, (ii) Wages Board Ordinance – employees related to any trade, (iii) Factories Ordinance – law for industrial trade – Act No.45 of 1942/Amendment Act (No.32 of 1984). Amendment Act (No.19 of 2002). Employment contracts can be created through writing, word of mouth, or inferred from the parties’ conduct. However, the contracts have to be in writing to be legally binding. For employees who fall under the scope of Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment & Remuneration) Act No 19 of 1954, the employer must provide the following in writing. Termination of employment in Sri Lanka is governed by 2 principal statutes namely the Industrial Disputes Act No. 43 of 1950, and the Termination of Employment of Workmen (Special Provisions) Act No. 45 of 1971.


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📝 Contract Formation and Enforcement in Sri Lanka

The essentials of a contract according to the legal system of Sri Lanka are as under: agreement between the parties; actual or presumed intention of the parties to create a legal obligation; due observance of prescribed forms or modes of agreement; legality and possibility of the object of the agreement;
capacity of the parties to contract. The two sources of Contract Law of Sri Lanka are UCC and Common law. The Contract Law of Sri Lanka is concerned about the legal enforceability of promises. In that context, a contract may be described as an agreement that the law (the Court) will enforce. This notion of enforceability is central to contract law. Should there be a breach of contract the following action can be taken: Sue for damages, Sue for injection, Sue for specific performance, Sue for Restitutio ad integrum (or restitutio in integrum is a Latin term which means restoration to original condition.).

📅 Sri Lanka public holidays

Date Description
06 Jan Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day
04 Feb Independence Day
06 Mar Madin Full Moon Poya Day
10 Apr Easter Monday
14 Apr Sinhala & Tamil New Year
05 May Vesak Full Moon Poya Day
08 May World War II Victory Day
29 Jun Hadji Festival Day
14 Jul Bastille Day
01 Aug Esala Full Moon Poya Day
29 Sep Binara Full Moon Poya Day
01 Nov All Saints’ Day
25 Dec Christmas Day

🏦 Construction and Projects in Sri Lanka

The construction industry of Sri Lanka is one of the most significant industries that contribute to socio-economic growth. Currently, the construction industry accounts for 7.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Sri Lanka. Below are some mega projects in Sri Lanka:
▪ Galle Techno-Park;
▪ Central Expressway;
▪ Faculty of Technology, Rajarata University;
▪ Railway Operation HQ & Train Control Centre;
▪ Malapalla Housing Complex;
▪ Kandy-North Pathadumbara Integrated Water Supply;
▪ Colombo-Kandy Road;
▪ Urban Regeneration: Kalinga Mawatha.

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    Bud & Prairie boasts a team of highly-qualified lawyers, licensed patent and trademark agents, engineers, paralegals, technical staff and legal professionals whose knowledge, experience, and acumen are second to none. Most of our attorneys and consultants own advanced degrees from both domestic and foreign institutions. We have the depth of experience of our partners with a perfect combination of knowledge, foresight and creativity, making us possible to analyse and solve issues faced by clients from various industries and providing them with all-round or holistic solutions that are not only legally sound, but also commercially sensitive.

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