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Learn more about Intellectual Property in Malaysia

Since the 1980s, Malaysia has gradually equipped itself with contemporary intellectual property legislation that is in accordance with international norms and is regarded as one of the finest among ASEAN member states, if not the entire Asian region. This improvement in the legal environment has been complemented by an increased readiness to combat counterfeiting on the ground. Malaysia protects both domestic and foreign investment adequately. Patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, geographical indications, and layout designs of integrated circuits are all forms of intellectual property protection in Malaysia.

Table of contents

What is a Copyright?

Copyright laws safeguard the creative works of any photographer, author, producer, musician, artist, sculptor, or other individual. It is given to an artist who can show sufficient proof that demonstrates that such works are original ones.
This regulation assures that a copyright is granted to a person as soon as the original piece of work is created. The Copyright Act 1987 is the principal copyright legislation in Malaysia.
Other legislation enacted in Malaysia to safeguard copyrights include the Industrial Designs Act 1996, which protects industrial designs, and the Industrial Designs Regulations 1999.

1. Copyright Protection

Although copyright is a non-registrable right in Malaysia and is automatically protected, establishing ownership of copyright is challenging. As a result, necessary documents to show ownership may be created. Copyright holders can assert ownership by making a Statutory Declaration or a Voluntary Notification with the Malaysian Intellectual Property Corporation. Copyright gives the creator of a literary, musical, or creative creation exclusive rights to that work. The regulations governing such works protect the owner against illegal modifications or reproductions of the works in question.
Copyright rules also protect any associated organization by shielding its revenue-generating assets arising from any potentially copyrighted work.

2. Rights of Copyright Owners

This enables the owner, author, creator, or designer of any copyrighted work in Malaysia to protect their work in accordance with Malaysian copyright rules. If there is a copyright infringement, the creator or author has the right to sue those who are responsible. Moral rights enable the creator to assert ownership of the creation’s uniqueness. These rights also include the right to prevent any user from unauthorizedly mutilating, distorting, or changing the author’s work. These rights are provided to the owner of the work in order for the owner to have the right of public communication, reproduction, performance, distribution, and commercial renting.
According to the Copyright Act of 1987, certain rights may be exercised. Economic rights also allow creators to profit financially from the commercial usage of their works.

What is Trademark?

A Trademark is a sign that serves to distinguish one company’s goods or services from those of other companies. Any firm is not required to start using a trademark at any moment. However, trademark registration is strongly recommended since it gives significant advantages over others who have not gone through the trademark registration procedure. As a result, they help to develop the image and reputation of the company’s products. As a result, customers will build attachments to certain brands based on a variety of desired attributes and features represented in those trademarks.
The Trade Marks Act 1976 and the Trade Marks Regulations 1997 govern trade mark protection in Malaysia. The Act, which is fashioned after legislation in other developed nations, offers effective and appropriate protection for registered trademarks in Malaysia.

Trademark Registration Procedure

The application process is the initial stage in registering a trademark in Malaysia. When submitting such an application, the following information should be included:

โžค Contact information for the applicant
โžค A visual description of the brand
โžค Informations about the goods or services to which the trademark will apply
โžค Contact information for the applicant

From the date of application, the newly registered trademark will be active for ten years. In Malaysia, registered trademarks can even be renewed on a permanent basis if they have not been used for three years.

What is a Design Law?

An “industrial design” is described as elements of shape, configuration, pattern, or decoration imparted to a product by any industrial method or techniques, and which attract and are appraised by the eye in the final article. Any produced or handmade item is classified as a “article.” It includes a component of such an item or craft unless the component is created and sold independently.

Rather, design protection is confined to a certain article’s visual look. Shape or configuration features governed exclusively by function are not taken into account when determining a design’s registrability. Similarly, matching features cannot contribute to registration.

The Industrial Designs Act 1996 and the Industrial Designs Regulations 1999 govern the protection of industrial designs in Malaysia. The legislation was recently updated in 2013, with important modifications including a shift from local to global uniqueness and a 25-year increase of the duration of protection for Malaysian design registrations.

Industrial design registration application

An application for registration includes the following items:

โžค The completed application form
โžค A certified copy of the priority application and its confirmed English translation are required

When submitting the application, the applicant must specify which views of the design will be published in the Official Journal and affixed to the registration certificate. Each published viewpoint is subject to an official charge.

What is Patent?

A patent is a government-granted exclusive right that grants the owner of an invention limited monopoly rights for his new innovation in exchange for full disclosure of his idea to the public.
The patent system serves the public by increasing technical knowledge gained by the publication of an invention, while also benefiting the inventor by granting him exclusive rights to his innovation for a certain length of time. An innovation is an idea of an inventor that allows, in practice, the solution to a specific issue in the sphere of technology. It might be a product or a method. However, not all innovations that meet the criteria of a “invention” are patented.

Malaysia is a signatory to three international patent treaties: the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883, the Patent Cooperation Treaty 1970 (PCT), and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 1994.

1. Patent filing

Patent protection is available in Malaysia through either an application to MyIPO for a national patent or an application for international filing under the PCT. The inventor will file a patent application and describe the innovation in detail. The specification provides a description of the invention as well as the claims of the inventor.

In general, patents should be filed as quickly as feasible since most nations, including Malaysia, give patents to the first applicant to apply. As a result, it is in an inventor’s best advantage to make an early choice on whether or not to file a patent application in order to prevent another rival from applying ahead of him.

2. Effects of the Patent protection

Once awarded, a patent will be valid for 20 years from the date of filing, subject to prompt payment of stipulated yearly fees. Patent rights have a geographical scope. As a result, the rights conferred by a Malaysian patent are limited to Malaysia. The patent owner has the only right to utilize, assign, or convey the patent and to enter into contracts. The prerequisites are that all fees owed be paid and that the lapse be the result of an accident, error, or other unanticipated event. Third parties who have acquired rights to the expired patent cannot be harmed by its remedy between the time the patent expires and the time it is repaired.

Why is protecting your Intellectual Property important?

Everyone, whether local or international, who wants to start a business in Malaysia should take use of the numerous intellectual property rights that are available to them. The availability of local intellectual property valuers would also benefit these business owners by saving them money and time spent on engaging international IP valuers.

As a result, such appraisers would be more accessible to company owners. Such owners will profit from enhanced access and exposure within the Malaysian business community.

Malaysia’s government has also established a mechanism to boost the country’s intellectual property ecosystem. This would maintain a healthy flow of supply and demand for intellectual property.

What is the Intellectual Property Office in Malaysia?

MyIPO is in charge of the development and management of Malaysia’s intellectual property system. MyIPO oversees and enforces Intellectual Property Legislation, including the Trademarks Act 2019, Patents Act 1983, Copyright Act 1987, Industrial Designs Act 1996, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits Act 2000, Geographical Indications Act 2000, and related regulations.

MyIPO emphasizes the quality and efficiency of the search and examination process for patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications.
They have several main missions :

โžค Creating a strong and competent administration
โžค Improving intellectual property laws
โžค Promoting public awareness campaigns on the value of intellectual property
โžค IP information that is both comprehensive and user-friendly
โžค IP consulting services are provided

Why do you need an IP specialist?

In Malaysia, intellectual property is regulated by several different pieces of legislation, depending on the nature of the property. Each of its branches has different formal requirements and the procedure for obtaining or registering varies.
Calling on a specialist in the field can therefore save time, thanks to his knowledge, but also money. A properly filed patent or trademark application will offer maximum protection to your business and your commercial projects in Malaysia and will avoid the inconvenience of possible lawsuits due to poor protection of your intellectual property rights.

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