Intellectual Property (IP) Rights of Malaysia

7 min read|Last Updated: December 7, 2022|
Home>Guides / FAQ>Intellectual Property (IP) Rights of Malaysia

Creators of designs or products aspire to be recognised for it. In order to preserve their rights, Malaysia adopts Intellectual Property (IP) Rights. This also allows business owners to have a monopoly over the use of a product for a specific period as well as to secure a return on investment in innovation.

Therefore, businesses all over Malaysia benefit from the ownership and use of intellectual property (IP) rights.

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights in Malaysia

The intellectual property rights which are in force in Malaysia today are similar to those of other members of the Commonwealth of Nations. In general, Malaysia’s intellectual property (IP) rights are in accordance with the accepted international standards.

Malaysia administers its intellectual property (IP) rights through an agency, which operates under the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO).

Malaysia is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Malaysia has also signed the Paris Convention which governs intellectual property rights. It is also a signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) which was signed under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights in Malaysia for Businesses

Intellectual property rights are some of the most important intangible assets possessed by business owners in Malaysia. These rights prevent the unauthorised duplication or use of any item or work to which the business owner is to have full rights.

Some Intellectual Properties include:

1. Copyrights

Rights possessed by Purpose Duration of Validity
employer, or
commissioner of the work
To Protect Products such as:

  • Visual art
  • Musical and dramatic works
  • Films
  • Literature
  • Published works
  • Broadcasts
  • Computer programs
  • Performers’ rights
  • Sound recordings
  • The Malaysian Copyright Act grants copyright protection during the life of the author as well as during a period spanning the 50 years after the author’s death.
  • Unpublished work is legally protected for 50 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the publication date.

The author has the right to have the author’s name identified as the author of the work based on the moral right. The moral right protects a work against distortion, mutilation, or any unauthorised modification.

Legal protection for copyrighted works in Malaysia is governed by the Copyright Act 1987. It is enforced by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs. Arrests, with or without warrant, may be made due to the violation of the Copyright Act.

In Malaysia, there is no formal requirement for a certain work to be registered in order for a copyright to be claimed or recognised. A copyright owner may, however, voluntarily register the work in question.

Malaysia Corporate Secretary Liyana

There are some requirements to apply for copyright, as listed below:

  • The applicant for a copyright must be a Malaysian citizen or a permanent resident
    Foreigners may file an application but only upon appointment of a resident agent
  • The applicant must first determine whether the work is an original or derivative work.
  • The applicant is then to fill a standard form known as Form CR-1

2. Patents and Utility Innovations

The purpose of a patent is to permit the creation of a solution to a specific problem by way of a new invented technology. However, the following items cannot be patented in Malaysia:

  • Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods
  • Plant or animal varieties or biological processes other than processes pertaining to human-made living microorganisms
  • Methods, schemes, or rules for the conducting of business, playing of games, or performing of mental acts

  • Methods for the treatment of a human or animal body by way of surgery or therapy
    Diagnostic methods practiced on a human or animal body
Rights possessed by  Purpose Duration of Validity
Any individual or corporation
To permit the creation of a solution to a specific problem by way of a new invented technology 20 years from the filing date of the application.
Malaysia Corporate Secretary Liyana
Utility Innovation
Rights possessed by Purpose Duration of Validity
Any individual or corporation
  • Exclusive rights awarded to inventors for minor inventions
  • Differing from patents, they can be registered for any improvement of an existing process or product
  • Total of 20 years of protection
  • Initial 10-year term and it is extendable for another two consecutive five-year terms by filing a formal extension request
  • Only one claim is allowed per application

Eligible applicants include non-citizens and non-Malaysian corporations. However, any foreign entity planning to register patents will have to do so through a registered trademark agent.

These applications are to be submitted at the MyIPO office that serves as the receiving office for the international filling of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications. Many businesses hire either a patent attorney or patent drafter in order to ensure that all information during registration is accurate.

An applicant must request for one of two options within 18 months from the date of filing. The first of these is a request for a substantive examination. The second is a request for a modified substantive examination.

3. Industrial Designs

The Industrial Designs Act and Industrial Designs Regulations govern industrial designs in Malaysia.

Industrial Designs
Rights possessed by  Purpose Duration of Validity
  • Any Individual, Author, Designer etc.
  • Foreign applicants will have to seek the services of a registered industrial designs agent.
  • Protects the aesthetic element of an industrial object.
  • The designs may be (1) three-dimensional features such as the shape and configuration of an article include, and (2) two-dimensional features such as patterns and imprinted images
  • Maximum of 25 years of protection
  • Initial five- year term from filing date that can be renewed for four more consecutive five-year periods

When one attempts to register an industrial design in Malaysia, the designs are required to meet some requirements, such as:

  • It must be new

  • It must not include a method of construction or design which is only defined by its function
  • The designs must also not be dependent upon the appearance of another article to which they are integral

4. Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits

In Malaysia, the rights regarding layout designs of integrated circuits are based on their originality. There is no registration required for the ownership of the layout designs of an integrated circuit.

Layout Designs of Integrated Circuit
Rights possessed by Purpose Duration of Validity
Creator, Employer, any individual Protects the creator’s layout-design, an integrated circuit or article in which the layout-design is incorporated Legal protection lasts either 10 years from the date of commercial exploitation or 15 years from the date of creation if it is not commercially exploited

5. Geographical Indications

Malaysia’s Geographical Act 2000 provides protection to goods in line with the name of the place where the goods were produced. Such goods which are protected are those of which a particular quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the goods can be attributed to their geographical origin.

Natural and agricultural products, handicrafts, and industrial products may all be protected by the Geographical Act.

Geographical Indications
Rights possessed by Purpose Duration of Validity
Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority
  • Protection to goods in line with the name of the place where the goods were produced
  • Products of a particular quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the goods can be attributed to their geographical origin
  • Natural and agricultural products, handicrafts, and industrial products may all be protected by the Geographical Act
10 years from filing date and is renewable for every 10 years as long as it is still in use.

Local applicants may either register individually or through a registered geographical indication agent. However, foreign applicants must utilize the services of a registered geographical indication agent.

Why are Intellectual Property Rights Important in Malaysia?

Everyone, whether local or foreign, who plans to start a business in Malaysia should make use of the ample intellectual property (IP) rights with which they are provided. The availability of local intellectual property (IP) valuers will also assist these business owners by allowing them to save on the cost and complexity of appointing foreign IP valuers.

This would therefore make such valuers more accessible to owners of businesses. In this way, such owners will ultimately benefit from an increased level of access and visibility within the Malaysian business sphere.

The government of Malaysia has also instituted mechanism intended to strengthen the intellectual property ecosystem in the country. Doing so would thus ensure a healthy flow of supply and demand and supply of intellectual property.

MyIPO has also entered into strategic partnerships with intellectual property marketplaces of other countries of the Asia-Pacific region.


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Is it important for companies to have Intellectual Rights?2021-09-29T16:09:28+08:00

Yes. Intellectual Rights are important as they can set your business apart from competitors as it allows them to have a monopoly and control the imitation and duplication of the product or design. This provides an important revenue stream and makes them the only option for customers to buy from.

What are protected under Intellectual Property Rights in Malaysia?2021-09-29T16:08:50+08:00

The protection includes patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, geographical indications and layout designs of integrated circuits.

What are the penalties faced for violation of intellectual property?2021-09-29T16:08:06+08:00

An individual may be subjected to criminal fines, imprisonment, seizure of the stolen materials, loss or suspension of a business operating license or civil charges filed by the victim of the crime.

What must a business take note to maintain registration for their Intellectual Property?2021-09-29T16:07:26+08:00

For Patents and Utility Models owners, it is required to pay the prescribed annual fee for each year, for Copyright and Design rights, no action is needed for the initial period, unless extension is intended for Design rights.

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