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People and places

In-depth features


Like most countries around the world, Sri Lanka has taken a battering from the Covid-19 pandemic. The country’s economy continues to struggle, but some observers hope better times are ahead thanks to an overwhelming election win by the Sri Lanka People’s Freedom Alliance in elections held in August 2020. Elections were postponed at least twice due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.  

Numerous pundits believe the People’s Freedom Alliance will be more pro-business, providing a platform for economic growth and inward investment. 

There are about a dozen strong law firms in Colombo, including those listed below.   


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DL&F De Saram was founded in Colombo in 1901 by Richard Francis De Saram. Manjula Sirimane and Prabash De Saram are key practitioners to register patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright, as well as to advise on infringement and litigation. 

Founded in 1841 in Colombo, FJ&G de Saram covers all areas of corporate and commercial law with a particular strength in IP. Many Fortune 500 companies are clients of the firm. Partner Jayathri Kulatilleke is among the firm’s key IP practitioners. 

John Wilson Partners, which was named the 2023 trademark firm of the year for Sri Lanka at the Asia IP awards, offers clients responsive, professional and fast turnaround for all types of IP filings. Managing principal John Wilson has invested considerable resources over the years to develop in-house custom docketing software, which facilitates efficient handling of large client portfolios, applications and renewals. Among its top IP practitioners are Sameendra Perera for trademark, patent and copyright; John Wilson for patent and copyright; and Benazir Hassan for trademark.  

Century-old civil law firm Julius & Creasy, winner of the 2023 patent firm of the year for Sri Lanka at the Asia IP awards, offers advice on enforcement, management and transactional matters pertaining to IP law. The firm has acted for several Fortune 500 companies and has acted as Sri Lanka correspondent of several trademark and patent attorney firms in Europe, the US and Asia. Anomi Wanigasekera heads the firm’s IP practice; she has extensive experience in the full range of enforcement, management and transactional matters pertaining to IP law. She also overlooks the drafting and reviewing of contracts at the firm, and advises on regulatory compliance matters. 

LegalBase is an internet law firm that for more than a decade has been allowing clients around the world to work with a team of legal advisors offshored in Sri Lanka. Partner and director Ali Tyebkhan is based in Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates; his clients include leading law firms, private clients, high-net-worth individuals and global businesses. The firm’s other partner and director is Sudath Perera, founder of a law firm in Colombo that bears his name (see below). Perera is one of Sri Lanka’s leading IP lawyers, renowned for his expertise in brand protection and anti-counterfeiting. Tybekhan is also a partner at Sudath Perera Associates. 

Neelakandan & Neelakandan is led by partners Sashidevi Neelakandan and Saravanan Neelakandan. Partner Pranavan Neelakandan leads an IP team which handles a large volume of trademark, industrial design and patent applications for both local and foreign clients, such as Rolls Royce, Google, Hilton, Audi, Panasonic, LG, Hyundai, Levi Strauss, Singer and Hermes International. The team also advises on trademark infringement and litigation.  

Nithi Murugesu, who has more than 30 years of experience, heads Nithi Murugesu & Associates, which focuses on litigation, commercial law, infringement and other IP prosecution and contentious matters for patents, designs, trademarks and domain names.  

Based in Colombo, Nithya Partners does pre-filling clearance, trademark, patent and industrial design filing and prosecution. With assistance from key practitioners such as Chanaka de Silva, the firm also has an in-house litigation team to handle IP litigation as well as undertaking due diligence studies, licensing agreements, other contractual agreements, and advising on areas such as e-commerce, data protection and computer crimes.  

Shaam & Associates is a multi-disciplinary law firm with practice areas including corporate and commercial and IP. The firm’s range of services includes filing and prosecution at the Sri Lanka trademark and patent office as well as enforcement such as investigation, seizure and litigation.  

Sudath Perera Associates is a full-service law firm whose clients include local, multinational, Global 1000 and Fortune 500 enterprises as well as emerging companies. Key IP practitioners include managing partner Sudath Perera and partner Himani Perera. The firm was named copyright law firm of the year at the 2023 Asia IP Awards.  

In 1982, Tiruchelvam Associates was founded by Neelan Tiruchelvam and Sithie Tiruchelvam in Colombo. Partner Asanka Abeysekera is a key IP practitioner, offering services including registrations of patent, trademark and design; enforcement and commercial exploitation of IP to both foreign and domestic clients. Managing partner Ramani Muttettuwegama oversees the IP department; early in her career, she successfully managed Pepsi’s investment in Sri Lanka. 

Varners is one of the largest law firms in Sri Lanka with almost 30 lawyers, including senior partner Mahinda Haradasa. The firm is particularly strong in patent, design, trademark and copyright matters. It also handles search, investigation, enforcement and litigation of trademark infringement, franchising and licensing. Moreover, it is a correspondent for several IP firms in India, Singapore and Malaysia. Clients include Crocodile, Samsung, Porsche and Starbucks. The firm notes that there has been a significant increase in its IP work during the past few years.