Malaysia ranks second in Asean for IP protection

Chew Phye Keat

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia ranks second in Asean and 19th in the world in terms of intellectual property (IP) protection for countries assessed in the latest US Chamber International IP Index.

The index measures the level of IP protection in a country based on 35 indicators and benchmarks the IP standards in 45 global economies which cover roughly 90% of global gross domestic product.

Among Asean countries covered in the index - which in its fifth edition released last month - Malaysia ranked only behind Singapore, and ahead of Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Malaysia has always been committed to improving the IP environment to be competitive regionally and globally. 

“While Malaysia’s ranking should be positively recognised, the Government and private sector should continue to strive for a better IP ranking in the coming years,” president of the Asean Intellectual Property Association (Asean IPA), Chew Phye Keat, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Asean IPA, a private sector-based association with Asean non-governmental organisation status and dedicated to supporting IP protection in the region, lauded Malaysias IP efforts and progress.

Chew said protecting IP rights and safeguarding innovation is key to making Malaysia more attractive to foreign investors.

“The Malaysian government with its various agencies, truly understands the importance of IP protection and so far, always walks the talk,” he added.

Also noteworthy is the creation of Khazanah Harta Intelek Malaysia, a centralised repository of intellectual property to facilitate and spur commercialisation.

This is alongside the Malaysian Intellectual Property Corp (MyIPO), in progressing various initiatives to streamline trademark application and registration processes. 

As a result, trademark applications have soared in the past decade, up from 25,894 in 2007 to 39,107 last year as registrations have also increased from 25,490 to 32,806 in the same period.

Meanwhile, Chew said the IP Index this year highlighted the issue of discrimination and restrictions on the use of brands in the packaging of different products.

Last year, the US Chamber of Commerce report, “Creation of a Contemporary Global Measure of Physical Counterfeiting 2016” warned that a likely adverse impact of plain packaging is the emergence of counterfeiting.

“In the absence of brands and trademarks as a form of product differentiation, counterfeits can be more easily manufactured and consumers are more likely to end up buying and consuming these products,” Chew said.

He said the Malaysian government’s ongoing efforts at curbing these activities and a continued holistic approach, which encompasses trademarks protection and effective enforcement, would be the key to further improving Malaysia’s IP ranking and reputation globally. - Bernama

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