Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Protecting Intangibles

WHEN formulating an idea to develop a product, you spend a great deal of time to conceptalise and finally create it. It would be a sad story if you didn’t take measures to protect it. Anything that’s the result of your mind’s creation is intellectual property (IP) and protecting it is a sure way to avoid one major business blunder that includes copyright issues which can lead to losses.

It’s more discernible for physical products, but intangible assets are also described as “property” because it can be owned, sold and transferred just like property. Thus, the IP owner has every right to prevent any unauthorised use or sale of his property. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), IP refers to innovation, inventions, literary and artistic works, images, designs and even phrases and names. These assets must have their own IP rights that include either copyrights, trademarks, patents and industrial design rights.

“Many people aren’t aware that they own intellectual property as they assume only big companies are the ones who safeguard their assets. But anything that is unique to the individual’s creation is already IP,” explained Malaysian Intellectual Property Association (MIPA) president Peter Desmond Wee Tian Peng.

There are serious ramifications if an individual fails to protect his IP. Some of these are theft and copying from others; loss of reputation (where someone may use your work and name for their own benefit but in inappropriate ways); a loss of income and a general devaluation of your assets because it has lost its uniqueness and innovative value due to replications and brand dilution.
With this in mind, MIPA aims to build a strong IP partnership and networking among all IP owners, users, practitioners and stakeholders as well as people in the IP business community.
“We see MIPA as a platform to work together with the IP industry and the government namely the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism and the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) to raise awareness in all IP related innovations and inventions: beginning from creation, management to commercialisation on a proactive basis,” said Wee at the association’s cocktail gathering and networking session between IP owners, users practitioners and stakeholders recently.

MIPA will also play a front-line role in announcing new laws or policies of the government to its members and the IP business community. “MIPA will focus on conducting IP valuation courses and training programmes. As one of the IP stakeholders for MyIPO, we’ll work hand in hand with the corporation in this aspect of IP valuation training exercises and see how to establish a board of valuers where to certify and appoint qualifying IP valuers. The association has already finalised its 2013 calendar of events that include annual conferences, workshop seminars and networking sessions.

It recently held its first workshop on “Managing your IP Assets” with IP practitioners. We’ve also appointed Fabulous Association Management Company, an as our partner for all our subsequent programmes. Fabulous AMC shares the same vision as us to increase interaction with the members and business community,” said Wee. - The Star

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