Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Malaysia Australia FTA

Malaysia inked free trade agreement with Australia, which will come to effect from 1 Jan 2013. Intellectual property is one of the subject matter of the free trade agreement.

In the agreement, each party shall ratify as soon as practicable, the following agreements: WIPO Copyright Treaty, WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, Madrid Protocol and Singapore Treaty on Trademarks. The former two treaties define specific rights of authors and performers, while the latter provides a simple and harmonized international trademark registration system. Protection of non-traditional trademarks shall also be implemented. Harmonisation according to international industrial property system are encouraged to be implemented, to reduce complexity and cost to users.

Both parties also agreed that patent and trademark databases will be made available on the internet. Protected geographical indications shall also be published.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Malaysia's venture capital industry poised to bounce back

Malaysia's venture capital industry is expected to reverse its declining trend this year, as it is looking at about 25% growth by the year-end from the current RM5.4bil of total assets under management.

Malaysian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (MVCA) chairman Darawati Hussain gave the positive outlook based on the increasing level of confidence among investors, particularly from the Middle East, the United States and Europe on the economic environment from 2013 onwards.

“Our private investors who have been stagnant in terms of outsourcing funds due to the global economic crisis are now re-looking at this part of the world again,” she told reporters yesterday after the opening of the 4th Islamic Venture Capital and Private Equity Conference 2012 by Minister in the Prime Minister Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

The RM5.4bil of assets under management are from the 28 members of the MVCA. About RM1bil of the total amount is Islamic venture capital. Currently, about two-thirds of the RM5.4bil has been invested.

On the declining trend, Darawati said that it was due to the sliding trend of funds outsourcing by the private sector due to the global economic crisis.

Total assets under management had slid to RM5.4bil currently from RM5.9bil.

But, she said fortunately the funds from the Government were increasing during these difficult times.

The largest fund in the venture capital industry still comes from the Government which commands 54% of the total fund.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (Mavcap) chief executive officer Jamaludin Bujang said that it was working on a programme to mutually raise some money from its counterparts in the United States, Europe and Asia.

“This programme is looking at matching contributions from us and our counterparts, and if all goes well in the next few months, we should be able to bring in about US$100mil (RM303.7mil) this year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nor Mohamed said there was a need to grow venture capital funds in Malaysia, which currently stood at eight funds.

“Undoubtedly, we need to grow not only in the number of funds but also companies that have the potential to be multinationals, too.

“It is time we created companies with innovative technology that the Muslim world can be proud of.

“We also need to have more private sector involvement and capital from pension funds and sovereign wealth fund to ensure that our venture capital industry matures,” he said.

Darawati said venture capital tenures were usually long term in nature at three, five and even up to seven years (for investment in companies that are still in infancy stage).

“This is important for our customers to grow, get their customer base and get more institutionalised.

“Nevertheless, venture capital investment will look at companies that have the potential to double or triple their top-line growth or margin expansion apparent in most innovative technology companies, especially those that made breakthough innovations,” she said.

The conference was jointly hosted by MVCA and the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia. - StarBiz

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Korea fares Poorly in Timeliness of Preparing Search Report

Each PCT application has to nominate an international search authority to perform international search report. Malaysian PCT applicant has a choice of nominating Australia, European Patent Office, or Republic of Korea to perform the search. The search report contains a list of documents relevant for assessing the patentability of the invention. A written opinion is provided along with the search report to give a detailed analysis of te potential patentability of the invention.

The Republic of Korea is the most popular choice among Malaysians due to PCT schedule of lowest search fees (RM4,259 in May 2012). USA and Canada also nominate Korea to perform the search. According to the PCT Yearly Review 2011, only 16.9% of search report are established by Korea within 17 months of the priority application. The timeliness is important so that the applicant has enough time to come out with proper national phase strategy.

Australia has become an alternative choice for those who are unhappy with the poor timeliness of Republic of Korea. Australia search fee is RM6,347 in May 2012. Singapore and New Zealand also nominate Australia to perform the search. According to PCT Yearly Review 2011, a favorable 89.4% of search report are established by Australia within 17 months of the priority application.

European Patent Office is the least popular choice among Malaysians due to PCT schedule of highest search fees (RM7,834 in May 2012). Germany, France, and even USA placed great dependance on European Patent Office to perform the search. According to PCT Yearly Review 2011, Europe has a fair 61.3% of search report established within 17 months of the priority application.

Our short analysis and recommendation of search authority:

- high timeliness of preparing search report

Republic of Korea
- lowest search fee
- thorough search of patents in Korean language other than patents in English language

European Patent Office
- widely recognized search report
- thorough search of patents in German and French language other than patents in English language

Of course, the market of the invention shall play an important role as well. If market and patent protection is desired in a particular country, than that country shall be chosen as the search authority.

Mimos Ranked 7th among Government Research Institutions

The PCT Yearly Review provides a list of PCT top applicants among business, universities and government research institutions. Mimos made a surprise entry in government research institution category. According to the report, Mimos, ranked 7th among government research institutions.

The Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (France) filed the largest number of PCT applications in the government and research institutions category. It is the only applicant with more than 300 applications. The Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Germany) ranks in second position and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) (France) third.

Mimos Berhad is a government research institution set up by the Malaysian government to spear head the country's research in information and communications technology.

New PCT Contracting State: Brunei Darussalam

On 24 April 2012, Brunei Darussalam deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT, thus becoming the 145th Contracting State of the PCT, and on 24 July 2012, will become bound by the PCT. Consequently, any international application filed on or after 24 July 2012 will automatically include the designation of Brunei Darussalam.

Also, because Brunei Darussalam will be bound by Chapter II of the PCT, it will automatically be elected in any demand filed in respect of an international application filed on or after 24 July 2012. Furthermore, nationals and residents of Brunei Darussalam will be entitled, as from 24 July 2012, to file international applications under the PCT. - WIPO

Boon IP welcomes Brunei as PCT member. Currently members of PCT in Southeast Asia includes Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Cambodia, East Timor and Myanmar are not members of the PCT.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Malaysia removed from IP violations ‘watch list’

Malaysia has been removed from the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) “watch list” on intellectual property (IP) violations.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer­ism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the move would make US businessmen confident about investing in Malaysia.

“Previously, investors were reluctant to come because of concern towards our laws and enforcement on IP violations,” he said yesterday. “We believe that now they will see Malaysia from a better perspective and the American government may encourage them to invest here.”

The news was noted in USTR’s “Special 301 Report” dated April 30.

That report is a review of 77 trading partners of the United States, which have been examined for IP protection and enforcement. - the Star