Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Most Valuable Artwork: Mona Lisa

According to Guinness World Records, the Mona Lisa has the highest insurance value ever for a painting in history. In 1962, the painting was assessed at U$100 million. If inflation and surge in art prices are taken into account, the painting is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion in 2014, according to France 24.

Mona Lisa, a masterwork of Renaissance was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in early 16th century. It is described as the best known, most visited, most written about, most sung about, and most parodied work of art in the world, according to The Independant.

Leonardo is the most celebrated man during the Renaissance as an artist, engineer and inventor.

"Leonardo is ranked among the most influential artists in history. He lived in the boom of the Renaissance, a golden age of social and cultural change, a period in history characterized by an enthusiastic fervor towards intellectual pursuits and creativity," says Eliana Salvi, cultural officer of the Embassy of Italy in Kuala Lumpur.

She notes that Leonardo saw the entire world as the great machine of the world, as he call it, a work of art that is to be studied through curious eyes, and paintings as a way to understand and record what he saw, the physical world as well as the contained emotions.

The Mona Lisa painting shows a half length portrait of Lisa Gherardini, which was commissioned by her Italian husband. In Italian language, Mona means madam. It was bought by King Francis I of France which become the property of France. It is displayed at the Louvre, Paris since 1797.

Why the Painting is Valuable?

In 1911, the painting was stolen from the Louvre. The incident created headlines and copies of print out around the world. The copyright for the painting would have long expired. The painting was recovered in 1914. The Louvre then invested heavily in security to prevent such theft from happening again. There are many copies made but there is only one original copy painted by Leonardo.

To commemorate the 500th year of Leonardo da Vinci's death in 1519, a life size digital exhibition of seventeen paintings of Leonardo da Vinci will be held at the National Art Gallery from 15 July to 15 August. Admission is free. The traveling exhibition called 'Leonardo da Vinci: Opera Omnia', which means the incredible exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci is conceived by the Italian public television subsidary RaiCom with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Notice on Deferral of Reply Period to Trademark Office

On 26 June 2019, the director general of MyIPO issued notice 4/2019.


SILA AMBIL MAKLUM bahawa Pendaftar telah bersetuju tarikh akhir mengemukakan maklumbalas atau bayaran terhadap surat pejabat yang telah keluarkan mulai dari 01 Oktober 2018 sehingga 30 Jun 2019 dianjakkan kepada 30 September 2019.
Notis ini tidak terpakai terhadap kes-kes bangkangan dan pembaharuan.
NOTIS INI berkuatkuasa dari 1 Julai 2019

Dato’ Mohd Roslan Mahayudin
Pendaftar Cap Dagangan
Perbadanan Harta Intelek Malaysia (MyIPO)
26 Jun 2019

My translation of notice 4/2019:

Notice on Deferral of Reply Period to Trademark Office

Please be informed that the Registrar has agreed to defer the due date to forward reply or payment with regards to office communication issued from 1 October 2018 - 30 June 2019, to due date of 30 September 2019. This notice is not applicable to cases involving opposition or renewal.
This notice carries effect from 1 July 2019.

Dato' Mohd Roslan Mahayuddin
Registrar of Trade Marks
26 June 2019

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Malaysians Can File International Trademark

YB Chong Chieng Jen, deputy minister of Domestic Trade introduced the long awaited Trademarks Bill 2019 in parliament on  9 April 2019. The Bill introduced several internationally practiced measures to improve trademark recognition in Malaysia. The bill was passed on 1 July 2019.

Malaysians can file a single international trademark application to designate 121 countries and territories which are members of Madrid Protocol. Before the introduction of Madrid Protocol, trademark owners need to spend time and money to file applications in multiple countries which incur translations and hiring or representative in each country.

Screenshot of Nestle spokesman (Source: WIPO)

"I encourage all companies to use the Madrid System as much as they can," exclaimed a Nestle spokesman.

"The most effective global trademark system for the borderless network era," remarked a Sony representative.

There are over 1.3 million trademarks registered in the Madrid System, according to World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

In 2018, US based applicants (8,825) filed the largest number of international trademark applications followed by  Germany (7,495), China (6,900), France (4,490) and Switzerland (3,364). Novartis AG (174) heads the list of top applicant, followed by L'Oreal (169), Daimler (129), Apple (87) and Henkel (86).

The most popular class of goods relate to computers and electronics (10.1%) followed by business services (8%), technological services (6.7%), education and leisure services (4.8%) and apparel (4.3%).

5 Things To Know About Trademarks Bill 2019

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

The Trademarks Bill 2019 was passed by Dewan Rakyat on 1 July 2019. It is intended to replace the current Trade Marks Act 1976. Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen said that expansion of trademark protection scope was necessary, according to Malay Mail/Bernama.

We present '5 Things To Know About Trademarks Bill 2019' after reading the bill.

1. Shape of goods, sound, scent, hologram, sequence of motion can be registered

The subject matter of trademark includes letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, shape of goods or their packaging, colour, sound, scent, hologram, positioning, sequence of motion or any combination thereof. The scope of trademark matter is expanded to be in line with international practice of trademark matters.

The shape of goods must be distinctive in that it is not a result of the nature of the goods, for example Toblerone chocolate. Example of distinctive sound marks include 20th Century Fox fanfare.

2. Trademark applications identical as unregistered well-known mark are refused

The scope of well-known trademark has been expanded to any trademark that is well-known in Malaysia whether or not that person carries on business, or has any goodwill in Malaysia. It means that the Registrar can cite an unregistered mark to refuse an identical trademark application.

To increase the chances of trademark registration, a local search shall now be expanded to an international trademark search. We have more than 10-years of experience conducting international patent search. We can adapt patent search strategy into international trademark search to reduce chances of international citations.

3. Trademark applications similar as unregistered well-known mark for similar goods or services could be refused

The Registrar could cite an unregistered mark to refuse a similar trademark application for similar goods or services. We foresee that the threshold of refusal could be increased after the implementation of Trademarks Bill. We were informed by a source that the Bill could be implemented in January 2020. Trademark applications submitted in 2020 will then be examined according to the Bill.

4. A bundle of foreign trademarks can be filed based on local registered mark

Malaysians can file a bundle of foreign trademarks in a convenient and cost effective manner. Malaysia will join Madrid Protocol, an international treaty to allow applicants to file trademark in multiple countries in a single application.

We have more than 10-years of experience in international patent application. We can adapt patent application strategy into international trademark application strategy.

5. Trademarks are recognized as security asset

The recognition of trademark as security asset will enhance the value of trademark as an asset. Trademark could be used as a security for flexible financing options.

The full text of the Trademarks Bill.

Friday, April 26, 2019

World Intellectual Property Day

(Image: WIPO) World IP Day is celebrated to recognize the role of intellectual property

This article covers the role of intellectual property in sports.

What are intellectual property (IP) rights?

Intellectual property rights are rights given to persons over the creations of their minds, according to World Trade Organization. People innovate and create better goods. Aspects of improvement can be protected with intellectual property. The source and identity of goods can also be protected with intellectual property. IP provides recognition and reward to people that creates better goods.

Why 26 April?

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is an agency of the United Nations (UN) that promotes intellectual property. In 2000, WIPO designated April 26, the day which WIPO Convention came in force in 1970 as World IP Day. This marks an important day as members of UN have an international body to develop and harmonise intellectual property practice. WIPO provides a platform to raise intellectual property agenda for developing countries.

World IP Day is celebrated to highlight the role of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity. Last year, the theme of ‘Women in Innovation and Creativity’ was celebrated.

What is the role of intellectual property in sports innovation?

Modern golf originates from medieval Scotland. In 1618, James Melvill, a golf ball maker get a 21-year monopoly to make golf balls. Melvill’s golf ball was made of cow or horsehide stuffed with feathers. However, the ball is useless when it got wet. It was also labour intensive to make the ball.
In 1843, Robert Paterson invented gutta percha ball that lower the cost of golf balls. It also lasted longer and less vulnerable to moisture. It increased the popularity of golf as a sport. Gutta percha is a form of latex from Malaysian forest. 

In 1899, Coburn Haskell obtained a patent for rubber wound ball. The ball was made of solid rubber wound core that was covered by gutta percha. 

The surface of golf ball is smooth until 1905, when William Taylor introduced the idea of dimple markings on golf balls in GB patent 190518668. The dimple pattern maximizes lift while minimizing drag. The dimple markings were adopted in all golf balls.

Illustration of GB patent 190518668 by William Taylor

In 1963, James Bartsch filled a patent for a one piece ball, replacing gutta percha and rubber. The golf ball has undergone various innovations. Patents provide acknowledgement and incentive to inventors. Notice that golf balls were used to be made of Malaysia gutta percha and rubber.
The function of a new product can be protected by a patent while the appearance of a new product can be protected by industrial design.

Balls in football used to look like basketball before Adidas introduced the Telstar ball in Euro 1968. The Telstar has 32-panel leather ball with white hexagons and black pentagons that bore resemblance to Telstar satellite. The striking black and white arrangement made the sports enjoyable over television. As a FIFA sponsor, Adidas introduces a new ball for each World Cup. Adidas introduced Tango ball, another classic ball in 1978.

  (Image: Adidas) Evolution of ball design for FIFA World Cup

How does sports innovation affect me?

The human foot is a complex biomechanical machine. Foot tendon and bone need to withstand daily human activity. Today, most shoes are bought based on the length of heel to toe. Charles Brannock has a better way to measure foot fit.

In 1927, Brannock filed a patent for foot measuring instrument, which was granted as US patent 1725334. Other than the length of heel to toe, the device measures arch length and the width of the foot. These two parameters can enhance comfort and fit of shoe. With proper fit, athlete can focus on their activity with greater confidence and performance. The Brannock measuring device is still being used in shoe retail store, worldwide. Do you know the arch length and width of your foot?

Illustration of US patent 1725334 by Charles Brannock. The device is positioned to measure length of heel to toes as 9, arch length of right foot as 9 and foot width A.

The Brannock device is used to measure foot fit when a person is standing. It is used to measure the right or left foot, one at a time, which is placed on two opposite ends. To measure right heel, the right heel is placed on the label right heel. The length of heel to toe is measured based on the position of the longest toe. Then, the arch length is measured based on the position of ball joint, which is the widest part of the foot. A lever is moved to the position of the ball joint and read. In the illustration, the device is positioned to measure length of heel to toe as 9 and arch length of the right foot as 9. The width lever of the device is moved to position 9. The width of the foot is observed as A.

Research is important to support innovation. Japan spends 3% of GDP in research and development, according to UNESCO. Korea and China, which seeks to imitate Japan’s success spends 4% and 2% of GDP in research and development, respectively. Huawei became a 5G leader by spending 12% to 15% of its annual revenue in research and development. Malaysia spends 1.3% compared to world average 1.7% of GDP in research and development. I hope that Malaysia government and companies increase expenditure in research and development.

How does intellectual property support sports activity?

FIFA organizes world cup every four years. FIFA World Cup is probably the most watched television program in the world. There are many brands involved in this sports activity. FIFA and FIFA World Cup are protected by trademark. Sponsors of sports such as Adidas, Puma and Nike brands are protected by trademark. Brands provide a link between the producer and consumer. Brands are protected by trademark. 

Sports club brand such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid are also protected by trademark.
Trademarks can be licensed to create merchandise. Fans of sports usually buy a particular brand to indicate sense of relationship towards the brand. The fan would not hesitate to proudly show use of products with such brand.

Sports venue has limited seats. Popular sports event have valuable broadcast to reach many fans. The popularity of particular sports event is in direct proportion with the value of a broadcast. When an activity has high broadcast or reach, sponsors will come knocking on the door for product placement.
Rupert Murdoch recognises the value of sports broadcast. He promoted the English Premier League broadcast to the world which directly affects the fortunes of clubs in the league.

Local sports in Malaysia have followers. Sports association can make use of its intellectual property to gain fans, broadcast and sponsors. Sports managers should realise the potential of intellectual property.

I was a school quartermaster in Sekolah Aminuddin Baki, Kuala Lumpur. We organised annual sports event for sports club and raised substantial money for the sports activity. The trophy of event, Piala Tuan Haji Mokhtar, was named after the school principal. 

We know how to admire good quality brands. Have it occurred that we can develop our own brand? How much are we willing to invest in developing own brand?

Forty years ago, more than 80% value of S&P 500 companies lie in tangible assets. Buildings, land, cash and inventory are physical things known as tangible assets that investors have faith. Common folks would not have trouble to understand and invest in tangible asset for income or growth appreciation. Today, less than 20% value of S&P 500 companies lie in tangible assets. According to Ocean Tomo, a merchant bank, the role of tangible assets as investment choice is replaced by intangible assets, including intellectual property. Shall we increase investment in intellectual property?