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Friday, 18 February 2011

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BIZ-TECH

Intellectual Property Rights under ICT

Recognition of patent, trademark and layout design rights:

Sunil D B AbeyaratneBar Association Secretary of Sri Lanka and Chairman,IT Committee of the Colombo Law Society

What is patent right?


Sunil D B Abeyaratne

An invention is patentable if it is new, involves an inventive step and is industrialy applicable according to the Intellectual Property Act.

It defines “invention” as an idea of an inventor which permits in practice as the solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. Invention may be, or may relate to, a product or process.

Can Computer Programs obtain patent rights?

In the United Kingdom Patent Act 1977, program for a computer has been excluded from the definition of inventions. Computer programs were rejected considering they were mere implementation actions of mathematical methods.

It was decided in the United Kingdom that any software related innovation performing a function which could be carried out within the human brain (even though the function would not reflect the normal process of human reasoning) would not be patentable.

In Australia the Federal Court has decided that a computer program producing an improved curve image that if the invention produces a commercially useful effect, such invention would be patentable. When there is no technical effect and there is, only a scheme for performing a mental act a computer program would not be patentable.

What is the position in Sri Lanka?

The position under existing Intellectual Property Act No. 26 of 2003 in Sri Lanka is that there is no exclusion of programs from patent rights. Intellectual Property rights in ICT industry especially, relevant to computer programs operate as a global phenomenon and do not limit to a country or a region.

A major problem arising out of patenting of internet-related technology inventions since it provides patent protection only territorially while the effect of operation of the internet is global.

Registration of patent right and trademark is mandatory and procedure of registration and dispute resolution mechanism upon infringement of such rights are clear.

Rights relating to trade marks and trade names relating to computers under Intellectual Property Act?

Applicability of provisions under the Act for Trade Marks and Trade Names for Computer hardware has no distinction from applicability of the same for other goods or services.

The rights of a registered owner of a Trade Mark are exclusive but not absolute.

Section 121 of the Act explains that the registered owner of a mark shall have exclusive rights in relation to the use of the mark, to assign or transmit the registered mark and to conclude licence contracts. Unauthorised use of the mark and misleading the public are explained in the same section as offences under this Act.

Infringement of trade marks in cyberspace

Domain Names will function as a trade or service mark within the definition of the Act.

Internet users can be misled by functions of similar domain names with hyphen, space etc., in between genuine domain name.

As far as the section 121 of the Act is concerned, the provisions of the same can be applied for trademarks in Cyberspace as well.

Purpose of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (approved on 24.10.1999) is explained as “policies have been adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and incorporated by reference into one’s Registration Agreement and set forth the terms and conditions in connection with a dispute between such person and any party other than the registrar over the registration and use of an Internet Domain Name registered by him.”

However, Domain Name Registry is not obliged to investigate whether a Domain Name applied for would infringe rights of a third party.

Domain Name Registry would only ask for a letter from the organization requesting the domain to confirm that they have a right to the name. However, this can be challenged.

Is there any room for protection of Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits in Sri Lanka?

Part VII of the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003 in Sri Lanka defines Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, right to protection etc. Section 147 requires ‘originality’ of layout design to provide protection. Original means that it neither has been produced by the mere reproduction of another layout design nor of any substantial part thereof.

Further, it shall be the result of an intellectual effort of a creator and cannot be commonplace among creators of layout designs and manufacturers of integrated circuits at the time of the creation of such layout design.

What is the scope of layout designs protection?

This is defined in section 148 (1) of the Act and such protection shall not extend to the matters explained under section 148 (2) of the Act e.g., reproduction for the purpose of evaluation, analysis, research or non-profit teaching, education or matters explained regarding incorporated integrated circuit of a layout design under the same sub-section.

Protection will be not available under the same Part of the Act for any layout design, which has been commercially exploited in or outside Sri Lanka for more than two years prior to the commencement of the Act.

Further, infringement of the performance of any act contravenes section 148 and injunctions are remedial measures according to section 156 of the Act. Interpretation of ‘Integrated circuits’ given under section 159 of the Act is as ‘a product, in its final form of an intermediated form, in which the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and some or all of the interconnections are integrally formed in or on a piece of material and which is intended to perform an electronic function.’

Further, same section defines ‘layout design’ and further states that layout design is synonymous with topography. Design Right (Semiconductor Topographies) Regulations 1989 in the United Kingdom brought chip designs (patterns or arrangement for patterns) within design right.

What is unfair competition and undisclosed information and related rights in our country?

Part VIII of the Act defines any act or practice carried out or engaged in, in the course of industrial or commercial activities that is contrary to honest practices shall constitute an act of unfair competition. This is common to Information Technology related transactions as well.



Angelo Mathews with Country Head for Samsung Sri Lanka, K Shankar Narayan

Samsung signs up Mathews as Brand Ambassador

Mobile market share increase focused:

Samsung Mobile today signed up All Rounder Angelo Mathews as Brand Ambassador for its Mobile business. Angelo Mathews will spearhead the Company’s print, electronic, outdoor, and online campaign for Samsung Mobiles during the Year. “We are very happy to have Angelo Mathews as our brand ambassador for Samsung Mobile. Angelo in many ways represents the youth of Sri Lanka - young, dynamic and smart and these values hold true for Samsung Mobile as well.” said Country Head for Samsung Sri Lanka K Shankar Narayan.

Speaking on his association with Samsung Mobile, stated Angelo, ``I am very excited about my new partnership with Samsung Mobile. Given the worldwide reputation of Samsung’s technologically advanced, innovative and stylish mobile devices, I am looking forward to partnering with them to grow the Samsung Mobile business in Sri Lanka.”

Samsung is a market leader in the rapidly growing Smartphone and tablet market in Sri Lanka.” We will design interesting consumer campaigns for Samsung Mobiles involving Angelo Mathews to strengthen our engagement with consumers in Sri Lanka” said Shankar Narayan.


Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together

Synergy aims at smarter mobile devices:

Nokia today outlined its new strategic direction, including changes in leadership and operational structure to accelerate the company’s speed of execution in a dynamic competitive environment.

Major elements of the new strategy include:

Plans for a broad strategic partnership with Microsoft to build a new global mobile ecosystem; Windows Phone would serve as Nokia’s primary smartphone platform.

A renewed approach to capture volume and value growth to connect “the next billion” to the Internet in developing growth markets

Focused investments in next-generation disruptive technologies

A new leadership team and organizational structure with a clear focus on speed, results and accountability

Nokia and Microsoft intend to jointly create market-leading mobile products and services designed to offer consumers, operators and developers unrivalled choice and opportunity. As each company would focus on its core competencies, the partnership would create the opportunity for rapid time to market execution. Additionally, Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets.

Under the proposed partnership:

Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.

Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.

Nokia and Microsoft would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.

Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.

Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low. Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.

Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience,” Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop, said at a joint news conference in London.

“Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”

“I am excited about this partnership with Nokia,” said Microsoft CEO Steven A. Ballmer. “Ecosystems thrive when fuelled by speed, innovation and scale.The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute.”

Nokia plans to form a strategic partnership with Microsoft to build a global mobile ecosystem based on highly complementary assets. The Nokia-Microsoft ecosystem targets to deliver differentiated and innovative products and have unrivalled scale, product breadth, geographical reach, and brand identity.

With Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, Nokia would help drive the future of the platform by leveraging its expertise on hardware optimization, software customization, language support and scale. Nokia and Microsoft would also combine services assets to drive innovation.

Nokia Maps, for example, would be at the heart of key Microsoft assets like Bing and AdCenter, and Nokia’s application and content store would be integrated into Microsoft Marketplace. Under the proposed partnership, Microsoft would provide developer tools, making it easier for application developers to leverage Nokia’s global scale.


Another ‘Hitachi first’ launched

Data storages powered into info centres:

At an event held recently, Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), together with Millennium Information Technologies (MillenniumIT), Sri Lanka’s premier technology solutions provider, announced the launch of Hitachi’s Virtual Storage Platform (VSP), the industry’s first three dimensional scaling platform to the Sri Lankan market.


Tangit addressing the gathering

Hitachi’s VSP enables organizations to scale up, out and deep for unprecedented levels of agility and cost savings in their virtualized data centres and in combination with the new Hitachi Command Suite management software, offers best-in-class performance, capacity and open, multivendor storage virtualization for large businesses and enterprise organizations.

Together, these solutions represent a major milestone in continued Hitachi Data Systems commitment to transform data centres into dynamic information centres where access to blocks, files and content is seamless and resides in a fluid and virtualized environment.

“Hitachi has a long history of innovation and industry-leading technologies since first introducing heterogeneous storage virtualization within the storage system,” Emerging markets and Indonesia Hitachi Data Systems ASEAN Managing Director Terrance Maximus Tangit said.

With unique 3D scaling and management, customers can deliver capacity and computing resources as quickly as virtual servers are created.

“This exciting partnership with MillenniumIT is a tremendous step forward because we are launching new technologies like the VSP in the Sri Lankan market together with a world class IT Solution Provider; highly reputed for best customer satisfaction and solutions delivery track record” emphasized Tangit.

‘The data centre strategy of organizations are transforming rapidly’, said Executive VP MillenniumESP Faiq Faaiz. “Today’s data centres are reaching an inflection point, evolving into something that is more agile, scalable and efficient,” said research vice president, Gartner, Inc Roger W. Cox. “Storage vendors that deliver on the critical requirements, such as 3D scaling, are what enterprises are looking for to transform their data centre into an infrastructure that meets the demanding requirements of today’s virtualized environment.”

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