Higher Education

A seminar based on Intellectual Property: Organized by the Open University Sri Lanka

Intellectual Property

All you need to know about Intellectual Property

A seminar based on Intellectual Property was organized by the Industry Liaison Center of the Open University of Sri Lanka on the 23rd of June, Friday 2017 at the Senet House Building. The panel of experts who shared their thoughts with the audience included;

  • Mr. Shantha Yapa (Chief Operating Officer, Epic Research and Innovations)
  • Ms. Dilini Ratnayake (Assistant Director, National Intellectual Property Office)
  • Dr. Ajith Madurapperuma (Director of Industry Liaison Center, The Open University of Sri Lanka)
  • Resource person being; Ms. Shilpi Jha (Senior Legal Counsel for Intellectual Property South Asia, Embassy of the United States of America, The American Center, New Delhi).

In short, the panel discussion was regarding protection of IP (Locally and globally), facts about patents, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PTC) and the ways to use it and how a person can generate value from an IP through University Technology Transfer Schemes.

The first keynote speaker Mr. Shantha Yapa has over 30 years’ multi-field experience in engineering, banking and general management and he was also able to introduce  the ‘Innovation Tautogram’ an innovative tool which received wide publicity among top innovation forums globally. At the event, he gave a rather descriptive idea regarding inventing, innovating and patenting. In brief he familiarized the audience with the different types of innovation (Product, Process and Business Model), followed by the evolution of innovation management, the types and rationale of innovation which included over 14 models. Finally, in order to pursue the crowd to put their thoughts into action, he gave a brief summary on how to invent,

  • Think about the gaps in society in which your product can emerge
  • Look for overlapping areas
  • Inventing patents; Search for ideas similar to yours on USPTO or Google for absolutely free to identify if your idea is already established
  • Study the nature; environment product/service is going to be introduced in
  • Use tools and get help from professionals on how to select the best instruments for  your product/service

Secondly the program was led by the keynote speaker Ms. Dilini Ratnayake, with 10 years’ experience in the field of intellectual property, specialized in patents and industrial design and she has gained knowledge both through foreign and local training thus making her a specialist in this field. Her main topic was about patents and the process required to officially register a patent. She mentioned many valuable points regarding this particular subject, including why a certain entity should promote and protect their IP (Financial incentive, Economic growth and lastly to enhance the quality of life). IP’s can be divided under two categories as mentioned; Copyright (Books, Music) and Industrial Property (Trademark, Patent). Also the keynote stated that even though several people may file for a patent, only the first to file it can obtain the patent and that there are several steps and documents which need to be submitted accordingly,

  • Form PO1 (Can be obtained through the main IP website in Sri Lanka)
  • A detailed report on the particular invention
  • Any supporting documents
  • General fee (Categorized under student, individual and other)

In conclusion she also spoke about the infringements of rights and the duration of patents in general.

Finally there was an open forum supervised by Dr. Ajith Madurapperuma in which the attendees had the opportunity to ask questions from the keynote speakers and receive valuable feedback regarding their own products and services. As Mr. Shantha Yapa stated at present, companies over estimate the power of a patent (Companies rather than competing they aim at collaborating and tries to co-exist) and also commercialization seems to be quite less in Sri Lanka in comparison to other countries. Even mergers and acquisitions are not taking place in our country due to lack of trust between entities, thus Mr. S. Yapa mentioned that there are angel funding companies who are willing and are able to fund patents.

Anyone can be a master at this if they can research well and continue with the same passion they had at the beginning of the process. Also as soon as you get an idea you can submit it since showing a prototype is not a necessity thus blocking out competition. Answering the questions given by the audience, the keynote speakers utilizing the Pickme and Uber application stated that business methods cannot be patented and that patents are territorial, therein being valid only for a particular country.

To conclude the program, Professor S.A Ariadurai the Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka distributed tokens of appreciation to the dignitaries and appreciated their effort in making this event a success.

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