Monday, April 19, 2010

Understanding the Significance of Intellectual Property

Celebration to focus on creativity and innovation, this April 26.

National IP day (Hari Harta Intelek Negara, HHIN) this year promises exciting initiatives, especially to the creative and innovative groups, fellow artists are expected to get rewarded with new royalty incentive scheme.

The celebration on April 26, also simultaneously with 2010 Declaration of Malaysia Innovative celebrates New Economic Model (NEM), which emphasizes the element of creativity and innovation in a comprehensive manner.

Minister of Domestic Trade, and Consumer Co-operatives, Datuk Ismail Sabri, keen on touching the issue of creativity and innovation, let alone this year's campaign focuses on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as there is still a large percentage of entrepreneurs of SMEs who do not know the importance of protecting their intellectual property, whether in terms of patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights and geographical indications.

"The rationale of the campaign and the Proclamation of Malaysia Innovative in 2010 aims to raise awareness about the need to respect intellectual property rights as we respect the rights of property of others.

"It also aims to recognize the contributions of innovators in the development of the economy. Long-term goals of the campaign is to achieve an innovative and creative culture (shift from consumers to producers of intellectual property), to respect intellectual property rights and enhance the competitiveness of the country," he said of the celebration which will be officiated by Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin .

Many wonder what is intellectual property, its main components, as well as acts involved in this matter.

Simple definition of intellectual property are the creations of mind either in the design, symbols, names and designs used in commerce as well as literary and artistic works, while the components involve patents, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, copyright and layout set of integrated circuits. The Act providing protection for intellectual property in Malaysia involves the Trade Marks Act 1976, Patents Act 1983, Copyright Act 1987, Industrial Designs Act 1996, Geographical Indications Act 2000, and Integrated Circuits Layout Act 2000.

Replying to questions on the status of the amendment of laws and acts of intellectual property today, Ismail said, the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) is conducting a review of the intellectual property acts and targets bringing amendments for first reading in Parliament.

Among the amendments involved are the Copyright Act 1987 and Industrial Designs Act 1996, in June, while the 1983 Patent Act and the Trade Marks Act 1976 in November.

Each patent will be protected for 20 years from the year it is filed; Trademark protected for 10 years and is renewable every 10 years; for Industrial Designs five years from the filing date and can be extended up to 15 years, and Geography Indication 10 years and renewable for every 10 years.

For issues involving copyright, no registration is required; protection for literature, music and art is provided for the life of the author and 50 years after his death; for other works of protection is 50 years from publication.

As for integrated circuit layout, no registration is required. Protection is 10 years from the day it was exploited or 15 years from the date created should the circuit is not commercialized.

All intellectual property protection (except copyright and integrated circuit layout) is territorial and it is not automatically protected in other countries. This means that registration should be performed in every country where protection is needed.

Ismail said that to expedite the registration of intellectual property, MyIPO is upgrading infrastructure and information technology (IT) training of more examiners and reviewing the acts of intellectual property so that it is current and meets the needs of the international treaty.

"MyIPO provides an online application system to facilitate registration of patents and trademarks. Online search systems have been developed for public search."

"Mindful that awareness about intellectual property is still low, many programs are held such as seminars, exhibitions and publications. HHIN is one of the intellectual property awareness activities that provides impact in terms of increasing the local application," he said.

In addition to the common component of the intellectual property, other components of intellectual property is traditional knowledge, genetic resources and folklore.

Traditional knowledge and genetic resources of traditional knowledge refers to the results of intellectual activity in the context of traditional medical knowledge and knowledge based on genetic resources. Folklore is more focused on the creative process that reflects the identity, history and culture of a community, such as songs and folk dances, traditional costumes.

The most interesting approach is HHIN response to be taken to address the issue of transparency of parties dissatisfaction in royalties collection, which involves the majority of entertainment industry.

"The ministry has conducted a dialogue with the parties involved (composer, musician, singer, record companies, karaoke outlet owner) and taking into account the views of various parties to the amendment of the Copyright Act 1976. Decisions have also have been made to propose the Tribunal Copyright Act.

"We almost did not believe upon learning that popular singers such as Mawi receiving royalties of only RM450 per year. Meanwhile, the modus operandi of company that collects royalties are not known," said Ismail, who will continue their discussion with parties involved in the entertainment industry in the near term. -translated from Berita Harian

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