Reshaping Malaysian design law


Dave A. Wyatt

The jurisdiction report in the July/August 2009 issue of WIPR celebrated a decade of independent industrial design law in Malaysia.

That report concluded that although the system of design protection had functioned well, there was a need to modernise the law to bring it more into line with international standards.

It is now known that changes to all four main IP laws in Malaysia, covering trademarks, copyright, designs and patents, are on the horizon. The first sign of change on designs came with the recent release of a draft parliamentary bill for a new Designs Act 2010. The draft bill is a substantial work that proposes changes not only in the substantive law, but also in its administration.

The key changes concern the definition of a design, the standard for its registrability, the term of protection, and a clearer demarcation between the jurisdictions of the Malaysian IP Office (MyIPO) and the High Court. That the amendments require a whole new act, rather than merely changes to the existing one, demonstrates the scale of the reform. The term ‘industrial’ is deliberately removed from the title, in an attempt to highlight the new law’s relevance to more contemporary concepts of design.

Malaysian design law, MyIPO