Failed IPR could lead to business losses, European Commission says

The main IP issues in Malaysia are on the aspects of IPR enforcement 

By TMR / Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

INTELLECTUAL property rights (IPR) infringement is one of the most common concerns for businesses when dealing with countries in South-East Asia, the European Commission executive agency of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) said. 

European Commission said the issue can lead to losses of the business, revenue, reputation and competitive advantage. 

“Although SMEs often have limited time and resources, it is important to be aware of how IP can be valuable to businesses,” European Commission said in a report. 

According to European Commission, the main IP issues in Malaysia are on the aspects of IPR enforcement such as the prevalence of online counterfeiting and the absence of strong deterrent measures in relation to the prosecution of counterfeiters. 

“Despite improvements in the registration procedures, they can still be quite long. SMEs should prepare well in advance before entering the Malaysian market,” it stated. 

To note, IPR could protect innovations from competitors, be an important source of cashflow for SMEs through licensing deals or their sales as well as a significant pull factor when attracting investors.

In 2019, Malaysia joined the Madrid Protocol, a convenient and cost-effective solution for registering and managing trademarks worldwide by filing a single application and paying one set of fees to apply for protection in up to 122 countries. 

“With the addition of Malaysia, all the countries in the South-East Asian region, except Myanmar, are now members of the Madrid system,” it noted. 

Meanwhile, copyright in Malaysia, which is a part of IP, has no formal requirement for the work to be registered for copyright to be claimed or recognised. 

“However, a copyright owner may voluntarily register their copyright in Malaysia. 

“Registration is still advisable for foreign SMEs as the registration can be extremely useful in enforcement proceedings as evidence of your ownership,” it said. 

European Commission stressed that it is important to note that notification of copyright can only be made by a citizen or a permanent resident of Malaysia, regardless of whether the notification is done by the author, owner or a representative. 

“If the notification is carried out by a representative, an additional form has to be completed and a prescribed fee paid,” it added. 

Another important part of IP is a trade mark that could distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of others. 

“In Malaysia, a trade mark is prohibited from being registered if its use is likely to deceive or cause confusion to the public, identical with a well-known mark in Malaysia that represents the identical goods or non-identical or services of another proprietor,” it further said. 

Other prohibitions are the use of trade mark that would indicate a connection to the well-known mark proprietor, be likely to confuse and damage the interests of the wellknown mark proprietor, designed to deceive or mislead the public as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services in question.