Monday, May 26, 2008

New MyIPO Director General - The Edge

MyIPO's new director-general, Kamel Mohamad, says MyIPO has been working together with other ministries like the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to find ways in which it can contribute.

"MyIPO wants to strive for excellence as an organisation and we are here to promote and protect Malaysia's interest in the area of intellectual property. One of the areas for us to focus on is the partnership that we have with other government bodies. Under the NIPP; the various parties will meet when there is something to discuss. There is an inter-ministry planning group that gets together to share information on what each government body is doing. We are now talking with partners in the areas of ICT and bio-tech. Our original mandate is just to administer the IP process, but I think we need to playa part in facilitating it," he explains.

Kamel adds that a recent statement released by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) indicates that there has been a shift in terms of patent growth to Asia. China, South Korea and Japan had made it to the list of top 10 countries with the highest number of patent filings, while Northeast Asian countries recorded notable growth for the fourth consecutive year. In 2007, patent filings from these countries accounted for 25.8% of all international applications. South Korea and China both overtook France and the Netherlands for the fourth and seventh spots on the top 10 list respectively.

"Last year, there was a fivefold growth in patents filed in India. As for Malaysia, since we signed the PCT, there has been about 70 % growth in the number of patents that go through international filing - from 60 to 103. To cater for the increase in patent filings, we hired 20 patent examiners in 2006 and 19 more recently. At present, we have 72 patent examiners but in terms of experience, it is quite a challenge. The total experience per individual averages out to only 5.25 years and it takes two years for them to be fully on their own. We turn to our international counterparts for help in terms of training, but we need to really fast-track our people in this area," says Kamel.

In a bid to follow in the footsteps of Stanford University, Silicon Valley's talent mill, MyIPO has signed memorandums of understanding with several local universities to provide advice to help them set up technology licensing offices within the campuses. The big difference here is that IP registration can be done within Stanford grounds, but these technology licensing offices will not provide this service. Asked if MyIPO is looking into setting up branches in leading research universities, Kamel says there are no plans to do so yet.

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