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SRI LANKA TELECOM PLC

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SRI LANKA TELECOM : Supreme Court affirms Interim Injunction issued against SLT and SLT Services

02/24/2020 | 07:39am EDT

One of the first cases to be filed in Sri Lanka in respect of an infringement of the layout design of an integrated circuit The Supreme Court on 20 February refused to grant leave in an Appeal preferred by Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and Sri Lanka Telecom (Services) Ltd. [SLT and SLT (Services) Ltd.

] against an Interim Injunction issued by the Commercial High Court. The Appeal, which was heard by a bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, P.

Padman Surasena J, and E.A.

G.R.

Amarasekara J, on consideration of submissions made on behalf of parties, dismissed the Defendant-Petitioners' Appeal. The Interim injunction appealed by SLT and SLT (Services) to the Supreme Court was granted by the Commercial High Court in one of the first cases to be filed in Sri Lanka in respect of an infringement of the layout design of an integrated circuit.

A.M.

T. Nirmala (the Plaintiff), the inventor of a device identified as 'a power strip with lightning surge and over voltage protection device', instituted action against SLT and SLT (Services) under the Intellectual Property Act No.

36 of 2003, seeking to restrain the Defendants from disclosing and or making use of the undisclosed/confidential/confidential commercially sensitive information which has allegedly been illegally obtained from A.M.

T. Nirmala.

The Plaintiff, through his Plaint filed before the Commercial High Court, set out that he, expending his skill and labour, developed a power strip with lightning surge and over voltage protection device and introduced his device to the Defendants in order to form a joint venture with the Defendants. The Defendants, being impressed with the Plaintiff's invention, had held a series of meetings and requested the Plaintiff to submit a prototype of his design in order for the Defendants to test the device.

The Plaintiff, through his Plaint, had alleged that he had submitted his device to the Defendants, duly informing the Defendants that the Plaintiff's device is part of a patent application and submitted confidentially for the purposes of testing. The Plaintiff, through his Plaint, alleged that the Defendants thereafter, pursuant to having the device for a period of over six weeks, informed the Plaintiff to collect the Plaintiff's device where the Plaintiff noticed to his shock and surprise that the prototype of the Plaintiff's device had been forced open, all the internal components within the device forced open, and the technology inspected.

The Plaintiff had set out very clearly through the Plaint that the Defendants had no reason to open up the Plaintiff's device for such to be tested unless for unlawful purposes of acquiring the information in respect of the functionality of the prototype. The Plaintiff had set out through the Plaint that the Plaintiff further proceeded to register the layout design of the integrated circuit found within the Plaintiff's invention and submitted to Court the complete patent applications and layout design applications lodged at the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka under confidential cover where the learned Judge directed the Court Registrar to keep such confidential documents under the custody of the Registrar.

Furthermore, the Plaintiff alleged through his Plaint that the Defendants had acted in a pre-orchestrated manner, attempting to inspect the technology and the circuits in the Plaintiff's device. The Plaintiff, through his Plaint, alleged further that since the Plaintiff's technology had been illegally obtained by the Defendants, there is an imminent threat that the Defendants will either make use or disclose the Plaintiff's undisclosed/confidential/ commercially sensitive business information in respect of the functionality of the Plaintiff's device.

The Learned High Court Judge M. Ahsan R.

Marikar, being satisfied with the Plaintiff's case, in the first instance issued notices of Interim Injunctions and Summons on the Defendants, preventing the Defendants from making use and or disclosing such undisclosed/confidential/commercially sensitive business information illegally obtained from the Plaintiff in respect of the functionality of the Plaintiff's device. The Defendants thereafter filed their Objections for Interim Injunctions, which were granted, and both parties thereafter filed Written Submissions for the inquiry into whether the Interim Injunction should be granted.

Thereafter on 18 January 2019, the Commercial High Court issued an Interim Injunction against SLT and SLT (Services), preventing SLT and SLT (Services) from making use of and or disclosing the confidential information obtained from the young inventor's device termed as the 'power strip with lightning surge and over voltage protection device', which is also part of a patent application from until the final determination of the action. The case instituted by the Plaintiff before the Commercial High Court is due to be taken up before the Commercial High Court for pre-trial on 19 March.

Defendant-Petitioners SLT and SLT (Services) were represented by Attorneys-at-Law Dr. Lasantha Hettiarachchi, Medavini Thilekratne and Himath Silva, on the instructions of Attorney-at-Law A.

R.L.

de Silva. Plaintiff-Respondent A.

M.T.

Nirmala was represented by Attorneys-at-Law Nishan Premathiratne, Nadun Wijayasriwardena and Migara Cabral, on the instructions of Julius and Creasy Attorneys-at-Law.

© Pakistan Press International, source Asianet-Pakistan

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