Thursday, August 26, 2010

Malaysia's First Invention Reality Show

Malaysia will host an invention reality show which will start from 25 September 2010. The program called "TV Idea: Malaysian Inventors Challenge," billed as Malaysia's first invention reality show, aims to look for the best innovation among grass root Malaysians. Ten episodes of approximately 30 minutes program featuring preliminary selection and finals are being scheduled to be aired by TV3, every Saturday at 7pm. National astronaut Major Dr Faiz Khaleed and Daphne Iking have been identified as the host of the program. The invention reality show is a joint effort between Sirim, Proton and Ministry of Science. The organizers are looking for invention entries for the preliminary rounds. Interested individuals or group may get more information here. The finals will feature 24 entries which may potentially receive government grants and assistance to develop and patent the invention.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Tribute to the Man behind the Swatch

The world famous Swiss watch industry lost a leading figure recently with the death of Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek on June 28, aged 82. Mr. Hayek was born on February 19, 1928, in Lebanon and at the age of seven emigrated to Switzerland, where he became a Swiss citizen.

A pioneering and charismatic entrepreneur, Mr. Hayek, co-founder and former Chairman of the Swatch Group, is widely credited with reviving the Swiss watch industry in the 1980s when it was under threat from mass-produced, low-cost electronic timepieces. The innovative strategies he implemented in the early 1980s breathed new life into the entire Swiss watch industry, enabling it to regain its leading position worldwide. The industry, Switzerland’s third largest exporter after the machine and chemical industries, sells nearly 95 percent of its production to overseas markets.

Mr. Hayek was a decisive force in the launch in 1983 of the Swatch watch, an icon of popular culture.

In developing the Swatch phenomenon, Mr. Hayek’s unique entrepreneurial talent combined “disposability, affordability and reliability” to deliver a range of colorful, trendy and low-cost plastic watches for every occasion. The Swatch’s innovative mechanism has only 51 parts compared to the over 91 parts in a conventional watch. Its avant-garde designs made Swatch a fashion statement. Its low cost means that fashion-conscious consumers can own several Swatches to suit mood and occasion. In a recent interview, Mr. Hayek said, “I am not making watches only to look at the time. I am making jewels! They are jewels!”

Today Swatch launches some 300 designs a year and is one of the largest users of WIPO’s Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs which offers a cost-effective way to protect designs internationally by filing a single application, in one language (English, French or Spanish) and in one currency (Swiss francs). About half of the designs Swatch launches each year are phased out after six months, making them highly collectible. A 1988 fake-fur Swatch is reported to have been recently valued at £18,500 (approx. US$28,316).

Mr. Hayek was a master of marketing, introducing simple ideas to leverage the reputation, prestige and exclusivity of the Swatch Group’s stable of 19 watch brands, including Breguet, Calvin Klein, Longines, Tissot and Omega. In a recent interview with the Indian daily MINT, Mr. Hayek outlined the company’s approach to branding. “We have a unique message for each of our brands. This is a very strong part of how we operate”. For example, the message for the Jaquet-Droz brand is “Eternity - the Ultimate Luxury”. The Swatch Group is a regular user of WIPO’s Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, a user-friendly and cost-effective option for registering and managing trademarks internationally.
Full article -WIPO Magazine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Faiza Cannot Use "Ponni" Label, Rules Court

The High Court here Tuesday ruled that Faiza Sdn Bhd cannot use the "ponni" label for its rice products.

Judge Datuk Azahar Mohamed made the ruling after allowing an application by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India (APEDA) an four others to nullify the trademark used by the company.

He also ordered that the Registrar of Trademarks remove Faiza's "ponni" label from its register.

In his judgement, Azahar said 'ponni' rice was produced in the Kaveri Delta in India that Faiza did not have the right to register it as its own trademark.

"To sum up, I concluded that the entry of 'ponni' trade mark in the register of trade marks in Malaysia is an entry wrongfully made and wrongfully remaining in the registry.

"All material times, the name "ponni" was used consistently and extensively world wide and in Malaysia for a particular variety of rice originating from the trade mark region in India," he said.

He added that the 'ponni' as a result of such consistent and extensive use became distinctive of such variety of rice worldwide and Malaysia.

"The word 'ponni' is not an invented word of the Malaysian company. In Tamil the word "ponni" is gold as rice is precious and "ponni" is a recognisable name of rice variety originating from Tamil Nadu.

"The name 'ponni' does not qualify for registration as it prevents others from legitimately using the particular rice and the respondent is not entitled to register the word "ponni" as a trade mark," he said.

In their civil action filed on Jan 22, APEDA, Universiti Pertanian Tamil Nadu, two farmers from India, and business entities Visnukumar Traders Pvt.Ltd and K.K Imports and Exports had named Faiza Sdn Bhd as the respondent.

The plaintiffs wanted the court to order the "ponni" trade mark with registration number No 00007172 to be voided and removed from the Malaysian Trade Marks Registry and gazetted as such.

Faiza Sdn Bhd's marketing and sales manager Fazaruddin Ibrahim had told the court that the company received approval to use the trade mark on June 6, 2000 from the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia.

He said the company had spent a sizable sum of money to obtain the trade mark and popularise it among consumers.

He added that the company had no ulterior motives in using the trade mark and had never denied the geographical origin of "ponni" rice.

The plaintiffs were represented by counsel Karen Abraham while Faiza Sdn Bhd by counsel A. Chinnapalanidevi. -Bernama