In the simplest definition, intellectual property refers to the outcome of your mental faculty. Let’s say you have spent hundreds of hours through meticulous research and lots of trial and error, that you eventually came up with one of a kind machine, for example. That machine is the creation of your creative mind. It is the property created from your intellect. But then again, how can you be certain that that machine legally belongs to you? Read on below about the brief overview of intellectual property in Malaysia.
There are typically four types of intellectual property that the laws in Malaysia deal with;
1) Trade Mark
First, we have ‘Trade Mark’ (also popularly written as trademark). A trademark reflects the identity of a brand. It can be in various forms that include your company’s logo, word, name, numeral or even tagline, among others.
Trademark protection is governed by the Trade Marks Act 1976 and the Trade Marks Regulations 1997. The Act provides protection for registered trademarks in Malaysia. Once registered, no one, be it individual or company, other than its proprietor or authorised users may use them, or otherwise, an infringement action can be initiated against the abusers.
The period of protection is ten years, renewable for a period of every ten years thereafter. The proprietor of the trademark or service mark has the right to deal or assign as well as to license its use.
Now, if you want to put a brand to the machine as an example used earlier, say, you want to name it as ‘Jarvis’, you have to register the brand as to make it as your trademark.
(Read more: The importance of trademark registration in Malaysia: the case of Shell Out Seafood Restaurant)
Registering Jarvis as your trademark is a good start, but that’s not all. While other parties are prohibited from using the brand Jarvis, they can still copy and produce the same machine like yours, IF you don’t patent it. In the era of technological advancement nowadays, people can simply do some reverse engineering stuff to duplicate Jarvis. So patenting the mechanics of Jarvis is a must. But first, you have to ensure that your creation is unique as it has to pass the novelty test (new invention), involves inventive steps and industrially applicable.
The Patents Act 1983 and the Patents Regulations 1986 govern patent protection in Malaysia. These set of laws give you an exclusive right over Jarvis so no one else can manufacture, using or selling similar machine without your consent – unless – they’ve innovated Jarvis and make it different to pass the novelty test.
3) Industrial Design
Jarvis is now a registered brand, and its mechanicals also has been patented. Assuming Jarvis comes in such a nice, unique and aesthetically pleasing design, you should also register is under Industrial Design.
Industrial design protection in Malaysia is governed by the Industrial Designs Act 1996 and Industrial Designs Regulations 1999. The Act provides the rights of registered industrial designs as that of a personal property capable of assignment and transmission by operation of the law. In other words, not only people cannot copy the mechanics of Jarvis, but they cannot also copy the features of it.
Generally, copyright protects the various type of works such as literacy works which cover novel, lyrics, articles, computer program and so on; dramatic works such as dance choreography; artistic works such as paintings, photographs or any logos, drawings; musical works; recordings; broadcasts and finally, layouts.
However, it has to be noted that copyright does not cover procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such as these fall under Patent. But if Jarvis produces, let’s say, musical works; this part of the outcome may be copyrightable.
There is no registration for copyright works, but effective from 1 June 2012, it is possible to make a notification of copyright under the Copyright Act 1987 and Copyright (Voluntary Notification) Regulations 2012. The law regarding copyright protection in Malaysia can be found under the Copyright Act 1987.
If you registered the trademark, patent and industrial design of Jarvis in Malaysia, you are only protected in this country. But if you wish to raise the ante by taking Jarvis to the international stage, you have to register separately in the desired country individually. In Malaysia, the authoritative body responsible for governing everything about intellectual property is the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (abbreviated as MyIPO).
So that’s about it for now. Hopefully, this write-up helps you to have a sound, basic understanding about the intellectual property in Malaysia. There’s more to this, especially on the many steps and other considerations involve for the registration processes with MyIPO. Feel free to reach out to us and talk to our friendly specialists on how we can be of assistance to you.
In the meantime, we wish you and your ‘Jarvis’ all the very best!
The information above is for general understanding only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with the appropriate legal advisors in the respective jurisdiction.