Sri Lankan Government Has lodged a Complaint with Nike Regarding Personalised Tamil Eelam Sneakers
11 August 2021
After a video clip showing a pair of personalised trainers aroused the ire of officials in Colombo, the Sri Lankan government issued a statement indicating that it had protested to American sportswear company Nike.
The video depicts a modified pair of Air Force 1 shoes with a Tamil Eelam flag and a map of the Tamil homeland, which has sparked outrage among Sinhala social media users.
"Displaying their insignia is an offence under the regulations issued under THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM (TEMPORARY PROVISIONS) ACT No. 48 of 1979," says Anomi Wanigasekera, Partner, Head of Intellectual Property, Julius & Creasy Sri Lanka. "Therefore the government may take appropriate action thereunder."
She further states that with this issue, brand protection is provided under the Intellectual Property Act of Sri Lanka.
"Accordingly, a brand owner/ trademark owner may institute action thereunder against an abuser," she says. "The Intellectual Property Act of Sri Lanka provides that, without the consent of the registered owner of the mark third parties are precluded from any use of the mark, or a sign resembling it in such a way as to be likely to mislead the public, for goods or services in respect of which the mark is registered or for similar goods or services in connection with which the use of the mark or sign is likely to mislead the public; and any other use of the mark, or of a sign or trade name resembling it, without just cause and in conditions likely to be prejudicial to the interests of the registered owner of the mark.".
She adds that the IP Act further provides that the registration of the mark shall not confer on its registered owner the right to preclude third parties from using the mark in relation to goods lawfully manufactured, imported, offered for sale, sold, used or stocked in Sri Lanka under that mark, provided that such goods have not undergone any change.
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