Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) in Malaysia

Malaysia Announces RM4 million (€845,110) Intellectual Property Filing Fund 2.0 to Aid Businesses

Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi

Malaysia’s Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi has announced a total of RM4 million (€845,110) allocated for the Intellectual Property Filing Fund 2.0 under the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) for four years from 2021 until 2025.

This will benefit 2,000 entrepreneurs, especially SMEs. The fund covers all fees for intellectual property filings, including the cost of professional services.

Intellectual property protection is vital in promoting innovation. Without protection for your ideas, businesses would not derive the full benefits of their inventions and would not focus on research and development (R&D).

However, R&D is important for businesses because it provides powerful insights. It can lead to improvements where efficiency can be increased and costs reduced.

Foreign intellectual property rights (IPR) owners should think about obtaining IPR protection in Malaysia before establishing their products or services in the Malaysian market.

Companies may wish to obtain non-disclosure and non-compete agreements or seek consultation with experts in Malaysian IP law, before disclosing their technologies or business information to local partners.

The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) oversees the Malaysian IP system. They are an agency under Malaysia’s Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Foreign IP owners may register or apply for their IP rights in Malaysia for trademarks, patents, copyright, industrial designs, and geographical indications. An address for service in Malaysia and a local agent or lawyer is generally required when filing IP applications at MyIPO.

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Malaysia complies to international intellectual property standards established by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Malaysia is also a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Madrid Protocol. Patent and trademark applicants may use these international systems for filing international patent and trademark applications to acquire protection in Malaysia. Trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of application and may be renewed every 10 years.

Copyrights are protected in Malaysia without any registration requirements. However, a copyright owner may register the copyright by filing a Copyright Voluntary Notification at MyIPO.

An official certification of registered copyright may serve as prima facie evidence of the particulars of the registered copyright and is admissible in all courts in Malaysia.

Malaysia protects geographical indications (GIs) through the GI Act 2000. GI registration is not compulsory, and protection will still be available to GIs regardless of whether the GI has been registered.

However, the certificate of registration is a prima facie evidence of the fact stated in the certificate and the registration’s validity. A registered geographical indication is given 10 years of protection from the date of filling and may be renewed every 10 years.

Trade secrets, such as data, formulas, industrial designs, or other confidential information used in business, may also be protected in Malaysia, if the owner provides appropriate measures to maintain confidentiality.

Malaysia maintains efforts in the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). In Malaysia, the Intellectual Property Courts consisting of 15 Sessions Courts with criminal jurisdictions, and six High Courts with both civil and appellate jurisdictions were established in 2007.

An appeal can be made to the Court of Appeals and, on limited grounds, to the Federal Court.

IPR owners need to be aware if their products or services are being counterfeited. IPR related disputes can be complex.

Therefore, if a legal action is necessary, IPR owners are strongly recommended to seek advice from local experts in IP laws and litigation.

It is also recommended that small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts in protecting IP and stop counterfeiting.

There are a number of these organizations, which include:

In any foreign market, companies should consider general legal principles for effective protection of their intellectual property.

Please consult TOP Beraten if you have any further questions. You may email or call +603-27326084 for more information.

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