Intellectual Property (“IP”) refers to the unique work derived from the creative mind and intellect of individuals. Malaysian laws protect IP such as trade mark, patent, industrial design, copyright, integrated circuit layout design, geographical indications, utility innovations and confidential information/ trade secrets. The first and most important part of the protection is through the registration process. That is, you need to take steps to register your IP with the appropriate IP Offices.
Registration will give you the legal right to ownership of the IP such as :-
- patent grant or utility innovation certificate for new and improved product, composition or process;
- trade mark registration for distinctive identity, brand name, logo or signs used in trade;
- industrial design registration for visually appealing designs applied to products or articles; and
- geographical indication registration for geographical indications, for example sabah tea and sarawak pepper.
On the other hand, copyright works, layout designs of integrated circuits and confidential information/trade secrets are protected automatically upon creation without the requirement of registration.
Some of the key benefits of protecting your IP are:-
- Exclusive use of the IP to generate one-off profits or recurrent income through commercial exploitation
- An important business asset as it increases in value as your business grows.
- Prevent would-be counterfeiters or infringers from misappropriating your IP
- Take appropriate legal action against the counterfeiters or infringers should they persist to misappropriate your IP
- Consumers and clients see it as signifying commitment to quality leading to increased sales and building long-term goodwill and reputation in the brand
- Secure in the fact that the goodwill and reputation built on the brand over the years will not be lost to counterfeiters or infringers
- Prevent unlawful or malicious squatters or someone simply taking advantage of your unregistered rights
- Avoid inadvertently infringing someone else’s IP