Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) based in Geneva, who was in Colombo on a three day visit from 5-7 November 2013, said that WIPO and Sri Lanka are working out a 10-Point Action Plan towards strengthening the Intellectual Property Regime (IPR) in the country. He acknowledged that Sri Lanka could accrue many benefits through greater focus on Intellectual Property (IP) and also noted that in a highly competitive world and a global marketplace, proper IPR safeguards need to be in place. Dr. Francis Gurry made these observations at the media briefing held in Colombo at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka.
As a colleague of the late former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, Dr. Gurry was in Colombo, invited by Ms. Sugandhi Kadirgamar in early 2013, to deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Oration 2013, organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies.
Later in July 2013, Dr. Gurry was formally invited by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to undertake his visit as a State Guest of the Government of Sri Lanka, which was duly accepted and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva and the National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO), in consultation with officials of WIPO organized the programme for Dr. Gurry’s visit. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha was associated with Dr. Gurry during the visit.
The visit of Dr. Gurry to Sri Lanka is significant since it is the first time that a Director General of WIPO undertook a visit to the country, during the long and constructive relationship between WIPO and Sri Lanka, since it became a member of the organization in 1978. The most significant tangible benefit of this visit was the finalization of a 10 Point Action Plan to further strengthen cooperation between WIPO and Sri Lanka on a number of areas of interest and benefits to the country, such as integrating IP into innovation policy, development of a national policy on protection of traditional knowledge.
The Director General of WIPO also participated at an interactive Session held under the theme of “Intellectual “Intellectual Property and Development”, organized by NIPO held on 07th November 2013, at Cinnamon Grand Hotel.
During his 3 day visit, the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Gurry met H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapakse, Minister of External Affairs, Prof G.L. Peiris, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Senior Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana. Dr. Gurry was accompanied by Mr. Ambi Sundaram, Assistant Director General (Admin and Management) of WIPO, Mr. Ranjana Abeysekera, Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and Ms. Armelle Le Theix, Assistant Programme Officer (Sri Lanka Desk Officer in WIPO).
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
18 November 2013