Intellectual Property Rights In Malaysia

If you plan to start a business in Malaysia or already have one, you must navigate intellectual property rights in Malaysia first so you can enforce them later. Malaysia aims to be one of the highest-income economies by 2023, which can only be achieved by a robust innovating vision. 

The ample intellectual property rights in Malaysia greatly support all businesses, allowing them to have a monopoly over their products/services for specific periods, protecting them from infringement, and securing the return on investment. 

The question is how can intellectual property rights in Malaysia help to support this aim. In today’s article, we will answer this question and explore the various aspects of IP in Malaysia, its significance, the legal framework in Malaysia, and best practices ensuring comprehensive protection.

Understanding Intellectual Property Rights in Malaysia

Malaysia has established a mechanism to strengthen the IP ecosystem, ensuring its healthy flow of supply and demand.  

  • Definition of Intellectual Property Rights In Malaysia

The legal rights that protect the creation/work of mind and can be processed into an idea, product, or process are referred to as intellectual property rights. This might include artistic work, literature, designs, invention, trade secrets, and brads. Notable to say that intellectual property rights in Malaysia play a vital role in promoting productivity, innovation, and economic growth of the country. 

The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) authorizes the intellectual property system in Malaysia; It’s an agency that follows the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs. IP protection includes copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial designs, layout designs of integrated circuits, and geographical indications. 

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  • Types Of Intellectual Property Rights In Malaysia

  1. Copyright

The Copyright Act 1987 grants exclusive legal rights to authors of original works, such as books, films, and songs recorded on tape or written down. Copyrights are unregistered rights that are gained automatically from the date of creation. However, it’s advisable to register copyrights voluntarily at MyIPO to help enforce rights, and it’s admissible in all courts in Malaysia.

The Copyright Act outlines the types of works copyrighted, including computer programs. It also specifies the extent to which copyright can be transferred, and the rights holder can copy, share, perform, author, distribute, market, rent, or sell the work. 

Intellectual property rights in Malaysia state that copyright protection lasts 50 years after the author’s death. If the author didn’t publish the work during his lifetime, the copyrights would remain for 50 years. If the work has more than one author, it’s protected for 50 years after the author dies newly.

Copyright protection in sound recordings, broadcasts, and films is for 50 years after the works are published or made; if it’s not published, protection will be calculated from the years it is recorded. Copyrights for a live performance are 50 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in which the live performance was given or was fixed in a sound recording.

Even if an employee makes or contributes to the work, the copyrights will be granted to the person who owns/ commissioned the work unless there is a contrary agreement. Infringement occurs when the copyright holder proves the defendant violated his rights. Thus, the burden of proof lies on the claiming person.

  1. Trademarks

Trade Marks Act of 1976 and the Regulations of 1997.  protects any sign that helps to distinguish between two products/ services and helps reduce confusion among consumers. These signs include logos, slogans, letters, names, images, sounds, or a combination.

According to MyIPO, there is a list of items eligible for trademark registration:

  • Any distinctive sign such as logos, pictures, or symbols.
  • Words without direct relation to goods or services, a geographical name or surname.
  • Invented words.
  • Names of persons, firms, or companies mentioned in a specific manner.
  • Applicant’s signature.

Intellectual property rights in Malaysia state that trademark protection lasts 10 years, then may be renewed for additional 10 years. The trademark owner can deal, assign, or license the trademark use.

According to the MIDA, The Act governs trademark and service marks protection in Malaysia. Once registered, no one other than its owner or authorized users may use them; and If so, infringement action may be taken against abusers.

Non-citizens and non-Malaysian can also apply for trademark registration in Malaysia; registration can be done online via MyIPO or through an international trademark application and select Malaysia as a designated country. 

After registration, the application will be examined for eligibility, and if there is no objection, the trademark will be advertised in the Government Gazette. The registration certificate will be issued if there is no opposition.

  1. Patents And Utility Innovation

The Patents Act 1983 and the Regulations 1986 govern patent protection in Malaysia. Patents grant inventors exclusive rights over their inventions, preventing others from abusing or dealing with them without their permission. They also give the exclusive right for the inventor to exploit, sell, assign, or license to use his patents.

Inventions could be products or processes that provide a new way of making something or offer a technical solution to a specific problem. For an invention to be patentable, it must be new, exhibit innovative qualities, involve inventive steps, and be applicable in an industrial context.

According to MyIPO, there is a list of items that can’t be patented:

  • Methods, schemes, or processes for conducting business, performing mental acts, or playing games.
  • Diagnostic and treatment methods by surgery or therapy for the human or animal body.
  • Plant or animal varieties or biological processes other than processes on human-made living microorganisms.
  • Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods.

Intellectual property rights in Malaysia state that patent protection lasts 20 years from the application’s filing date. The applicant must request a substantive examination or a modified one within 18 months from the filing date.

Intellectual property rights in Malaysia include a utility innovation for minor inventions that don’t require satisfying the same examinations as the patents. Utility innovation protection lasts 10 years from the filing date and can be renewed for another 5 years upon proof of use. The MyIPO office serves as the receiving office for the international filing of patents Cooperation Treaty applications. Non-citizens and non-Malaysian corporations are eligible.

  1. Geographical Indications 

The Geographical Indications Act protects products named after their place of origin, with specific quality or reputation, but not if they go against public order or morality. Protection stays for 10 years and may be renewed.

  1. Layout Design of Integrated Circuit 

The Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act of 2000 is a powerful tool for protecting the original designs of integrated circuits. The law ensures that these designs are safeguarded for at least 10 years following commercial use or 15 years from the creation date if not commercially utilized. 

The owners of these rights can take swift action against any infringement and transfer them through various means. This Act is crucial to support Malaysia’s electronic industry and technological advancement in keeping with the TRIPS Agreement.

  1. Industrial Designs

Industrial designs protect the visual aspects of products, including shape, pattern slots, and color schemes. Malaysian designs are governed by the Industrial Designs Act 1996. Designs must be new and not solely functional. Protection lasts for 25 years, with the option to extend.

  1. Trade Secrets

Trade secrets safeguard confidential information, such as manufacturing processes or formulas, giving businesses a competitive edge.

Importance of Intellectual Property Protection In Malaysia

Enforcement of IP rights occurs by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Enforcement Division. Once the IP rights owner suspects infringement, he can lodge an official complaint attached with necessary documents to the enforcement division that will later conduct investigations and prosecution needed.

Many businesses hire a legal attorney to ensure accurate information during registration/enforcement.

  • Intellectual Property Law In Malaysia

Intellectual property protection is regulated in Malaysia by a comprehensive legal framework that includes various acts and regulations. Intellectual property rights enforced today follow the accepted international standards. 

Continuing the series of achievements, The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) got strategic partnerships with intellectual property marketplaces of countries in the Asia Pacific region. It is also a member of ASEAN and TPP-11 regional integration agreements.

  •  Best Practices for Intellectual Property Protection

  • Implementing solid intellectual property strategies tailored to the particular needs of businesses in the country.
  • Perform thorough evaluations of intellectual property to analyze and examine current assets.
  • It is essential to closely monitor your intellectual property rights and take necessary legal measures against violations.


  • How can intellectual property rights in  Malaysia contribute more to national innovation performance? 

  •  Establishing a coordination body is crucial for coherent stakeholder initiatives. 
  • IP policy should cater to diverse user needs and involve them in discussions.
  • University-industry relations should improve for commercialization without compromising research quality and education. 
  • Geographical indications and traditional knowledge protection policies can benefit Malaysia’s economy. 
  • IP policies should promote accessible types of IP for SMEs and inform traditional businesses of their benefits. 
  • Legal adjustments and consolidating platforms can support IP financing initiatives.

Intellectual Property Issues In Malaysia

Some of the most significant challenges for intellectual property rights in Malaysia are counterfeiting and piracy, which affects a wide range of industries there, causing massive financial losses.

With the ever-developing digital era we witness today, new challenges emerged, including digital piracy and copyright infringement, have come to the scene. Businesses must collaborate, raise public awareness of IP, adopt robust IP strategies, implement technological measures, utilize digital rights management tools, and enforce their intellectual property rights so they can protect their IP in this digital realm.

The Role of Baianat IP Company in Intellectual Property Protection

As a renowned organization specializing in intellectual property, we can help individuals and businesses navigate the varied landscape of intellectual property and guide them through their journey. With a rich history dating back to 1964 and expertise in different jurisdictions, we can efficiently protect and enforce our client’s IP rights.

Transform your ideas into assets through intellectual property rights and Schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our experts, who will assist you with tailored advice to protect your intellectual property rights in Malaysia. Learn more about intellectual property rights by reading our recent articles on topics such as:-

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