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Here is a brief overview of intellectual property rights and laws in Malaysia.
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Intellectual Property Rights in Malaysia

The Malaysian law provides Intellectual Property protection to both domestic and foreign companies. Intellectual property protection consists of patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright. Malaysia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and a signatory to the Paris Convention and Berne Convention which govern intellectual property rights.
Malaysia has also signed the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO).Malaysia's intellectual property laws are in conformance with international standards and has been reviewed by the TRIPs Council periodical.
The Patents Act 1983 and the Patents Regulations 1986 regulate patent protection in Malaysia. An applicant may file a patent application directly if he is domicile or resident in Malaysia. A foreign application can only be filed through a registered patent agent in Malaysia acting on behalf of the applicant.
Similar to legislations in other countries, an invention is patentable if it’s new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable. In line with TRIPS, the Patents Act stipulates a protection period of 20 years from the date of filing of an application
Trade Marks
The Trade Marks Act 1976 and the Trade Marks Regulations 1997 govern trade mark protection. The Act provides protection for registered trademarks and service marks in Malaysia. Once registered no person or enterprise other than the proprietor or authorized users may use them. Infringement action can be initiated against abusers. The period of protection is ten years, renewable for a period of every ten years thereafter. The proprietor of the trade mark or service mark has the right to deal or assign as well as to license its use.
In complying with TRIPS, Malaysia prohibits the registration of well known trade marks by unauthorized persons. Malaysia accedes to the Nice and Vienna Agreement on 28June 2007 which were enforced on 28 September 2007.
Industrial Designs
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.
For eligibility for registration, industrial designs must be new and should not include a method of construction or design that is dictated solely by function. Other than this the design of the article must not be dependent upon the appearance of another article of which it forms an integral part.
The Copyright Act 1987 provides comprehensive protection for copyrightable works.The Act outlines the nature of works eligible for copyright (which includes computer programs), the scope of protection, and the manner in which the protection is accorded. There is no registration of copyright works.
Copyright protection in literary, musical or artistic works is for the duration of the life of the author and 50 years after his death. In sound recordings, broadcasts and films, copyright protection is for 50 years after the works are first published or made.
The Act also provides protection for the performer's rights in a live performance which shall continue to subsist for fifty years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in which the live performance was given.

Last Updated on: 18-11-2009

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