Shamila Nathan provides an insight to the National Intellectual Property Policy
In the current knowledge-based economy, Intellectual Property (IP) is a valuable economic asset as well as a critical business tool that can provide competitiveness and stimulate innovation and creativity. In a bid to cultivate IP to advance economic and social prosperity, the government launched the National Intellectual Property Policy (NIPP) supported by a RM5 billion budget in April 2007.
The NIPP will help to achieve one of the objectives of the Multimedia Super Corridor Bill of Guarantees which is to become a regional leader in IP protection and cyberlaws.
IP PROTECTION SYSTEM
At the core of the NIPP is the development of an effective IP protection system to facilitate the rapid acquisition of IP and the strengthening of the enforcement system to remedy and deter the infringements of IP. Part of the budget was utilised to establish the Intellectual Property Court in July 2007 to expedite the hearing of IP-related cases and as an alternative dispute resolution system.
The advancement of knowledge and technology in the IP industry and the establishment of an IP culture among the business community and public will strengthen the long-term competitiveness of Malaysia and IP owners. IP owners will benefit from the full exploitation and maximisation of profits from their investment in the IP. This will in turn encourage innovation and advance the creation of IP.
The development of an efficient IP protection system is supported by the strengthening of the IP administration of the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO). This entails the simplifying and expediting of application procedures and registrations to meet the yearly increase in registration applications and needs of clients. MyIPO will also provide clear registration guidelines, quality public search facilities and effective information dissemination system.
The NIPP also acts as a blueprint in the enacting and updating of IP legislation in light of international developments and is committed to the compliance with IP legislation and international treaties and conventions to which Malaysia is a party.
One of the objectives of the NIPP is to promote IP-generated activities by focusing on managing innovation, enlargement of the national IP pool by focusing on creation of IP within Malaysia and acquisition of foreign IP in selected priority areas and encourage IP-intensive foreign ventures to bring their IP into Malaysia.
The NIPP conceives the promotion and dissemination of research and development results effectively among government agencies, private sectors, small and medium industries, research institutions, institutions of higher learning, non-governmental organisations and individuals as well as foster cooperation and partnership between them. The promotion of these IP-generated activities requires the establishment of a conducive environment that provides incentives, grants, management, finance, business transactions and dispute settlement.
The conception of a pro-active MyIPO Resource Centre is believed to promote IP-generated activities by making available and encouraging the use of valuable patents and industrial designs data that contain information on the latest inventions or state of the art technology as well as the global trend in specific fields of technology by industries and individuals involved in research and development of IP.
COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF IP
The NIPP is intended to stimulate entrepreneurial activities that focus on the commercial exploitation of IP and foster support industries, venture companies and individuals in the commercial exploitation of IP. The creation of a conducive business environment will encourage local and foreign enterprises to base the whole, if not the substantial part of their IP value chain in Malaysia.
In addition, IP rights that are not exploited by the government or large companies are encouraged to be released to Small Medium Industries and individuals for commercial exploitation through licensing or assignment. The NIPP emphasises that suitable valuation methods, contractual and licensing rules will facilitate the commercial exploitation of IP.
IP MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES
The NIPP is put into place to also ensure that there are proficient IP management capabilities in the public and private sectors by having clear guidelines or manuals and through the development of specialist experts at various levels of the IP chain of activities. This objective will entail the creation of a business environment to attract local and foreign enterprises to use Malaysia as an IP management hub. Reviews on existing legislation as well as business practices to better manage and exploit IP are expected to further the promotion of this objective.
INFRASTRUCTURE FOR IP TRANSACTION
The banking and financial sector are encouraged to develop IP-based banking and financial infrastructure to facilitate the commercial exploitation of IP through trading, licensing, collateralisation and securitisation of IP assets. This will foster the creation of a conducive environment that provides incentives, grants, finance and management for the IP industry. Also, the creation of IP Exchange is envisaged to stimulate the trading of IP and to develop a more liquid market for IP trading.
PROTECTION OF NATIONAL IP INTEREST
Another objective of the NIPP is the safeguarding of national IP interest by monitoring the international IP arena and advocating active participation in international forums that address the enhancement of IP protection, technological developments and new challenges. Malaysian IP interest will also be safeguarded by the formulation of a national stand on principal issues by discussions with relevant agencies and organisations in the public and private sectors.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT & PUBLIC AWARENESS
Increasing public awareness and the instillation of IP culture can contribute to the reduction of IP right infringement and recognition and respect of the exclusive rights of IP owners. The subject of IP will be introduced in the formal education system in primary and secondary schools as well as institutions of higher learning to develop public awareness.
The policy also intends to promote human resource development through the setting up of a National IP institute with the aim of creating more experts in the field. The IP institute seeks to provide IP training programs in the area of rights acquisition, enforcement, dispute settlement, management, valuation and licensing as well as general awareness.
FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
Guaranteeing the highest standard of IP protection system will secure an increase in foreign investors and technology transfer to local industry through IP acquisition, licensing and franchising. Fast and effective technological transfer will enable local industry to reap the full benefits from their investments, research and innovation.
The measures to be taken by the government to realise the vision encapsulated in the NIPP will determine whether the NIPP remains as an averment of grandiose intent or will succeed in transforming Malaysia into a formidable IP hub.
SHAMILA NATHAN (