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Intellectual property rights in Malaysia

International conventions

Malaysia is a member, among others, of the following international agreements or conventions in the field of industrial property protection:

- WIPO Convention (World Intellectual Property Organization);

- Paris Union Convention;

- Berne Convention;

- PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), Treaty on International Cooperation in the Field of Patents;

- Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Registration of Trademarks (entered into force for Malaysia on September 28, 2007);

- Vienna Agreement for the Establishment of an International Classification for Image Elements of Trademarks, also entered into force on September 28, 2007.

Malaysia is also subject to the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)) and the WIPO Treaty on Artistic Performances and Phonograms (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)).

On December 27, 2019, the "Protocol to the Madrid Agreement on the International Registration of Trademarks" (Madrid Trademark Protocol) came into force for Malaysia (see: GTAI legal notification), so Malaysia is also a member of the Madrid Union. Malaysia is not a signatory to the Madrid Trademark Agreement.

Patents

Patents enjoy after Patents Act 1983 a 20-year period of protection from the submission of the application (Sec. 35 of the Act). The term of protection of utility models is initially ten years from the date of application and can be extended for two consecutive periods of five years so that it lasts for a maximum of 20 years. Non-resident applicants must use a patent agent (Sec. 86 of the Act).

Design patents

According to the Industrial Designs Act 1996, last revised on July 1, 2013, designs are generally protected for five years from the filing date. According to the reformed requirements, four extensions of the term of protection are now permissible, each by a further five years, so that the total term of protection can be up to 25 years.

Brands

The Trademarks Act grants trademarks and service marks a ten-year protection from registration (Sec. 39 of the Act). This can be extended. The application must be filed with the Central Trademark Register in Kuala Lumpur (MyIPO).

The new Trademarks Act 2019 was passed by parliament in July 2019. It came into force on December 27, 2019 and replaced the Trade Marks Act of 1976.

According to the new definition, a brand is to be understood as any sign that can be represented graphically and that is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from those of other companies. In addition to letters and words, these symbols can include the shape of goods or their packaging, holograms, colors, smells, sounds or movement sequences. Collective trademarks can also be protected (Sec. 72 of the law).

In addition, the revised Trademarks Regulations 2019 have been in effect since the end of 2019.

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