Intellectual Property (IP) refers to idea or creation of the mind such as inventions; designs and images; literary and artistic works; names and symbols used in commerce. IP is an intangible asset which protected by the law, for example, patents, copyrights, Industrial designs, and trademarks which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invented or created. Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) is an authority that responsible for administration and enforcement of IP’s system and legislation in Malaysia.
Protection of Industrial Design Rights
An industrial design constitutes the appearance or aesthetic aspect of an article ( or product). It may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape, or configuration, or two-dimensional features, such as pattern, or ornament applied to the product by any industrial process which in the finished product appeal to the eyes and are judged by the eyes. In principle, the industrial design right does not protect the technical or functional features of the product. The registration of industrial design is granted by the IP office of a particular territorial (country or region) where an application is filed. The industrial design needs to be registered in order to be protected in Malaysia as a “registered design” is governed by the Industrial Designs Act 1996 and the Industrial Designs Regulations 1999. Prior to this date, industrial designs were protected in Malaysia by registering the designs in the United Kingdom. The local applicants can file registration individually or through a registered industrial designs agent. However, the foreign applicants will need to seek the services of a registered industrial designs agent.
A registration is mandatory for an industrial design to be protected. The design features of the product to which it is applied shall be new (or novel) in the world and not be contrary to public order or morality. In principle, the requirement of novelty is met if no identical earlier design can be found that anticipates the design under examination by the MyIPO. A registered design is given an initial protection period of 5 years from the date of filing, with the possibility of further periods of renewal up to 25 years. An industrial design may also be protected as a work of art under Malaysia Copyright Act 1986 which given a maximum protection period of author’s life plus 50 years after his death. The existence of Industrial design and copyright protections are mutually exclusive, once the owner chooses one kind of protection, he can no longer relied on the other.
The scope of industrial designs protection could be determined from the novelty statement and design representation which are accepted by the MyIPO. Statement of novelty is the highlighted design features which identifies what exactly the applicant is seeking a monopoly. The representation sheets are an important document required to be filed along with the application for registration which contained different aspects and views of the product clearly showing a novelty of design features. The representation sheets may consist of drawings, photographs, or computer-generated images of the design. The representation of design should fully disclose all the relevant features and details of the appearance of the product.
Commercialisation of Industrial Designs
The owner of a registered design has the exclusive right to make or import for sale or hire, or for use for the purpose of any trade or business, or to sell, hire or to offer or expose for sale or hire, any product to which the registered design has been applied. A registered design allows the owner to stop others from infringing his rights. Others who wish to use the same design must first approach the owner for permission to use the same design. Otherwise, they may be sued by the owner for infringement. Furthermore, the owner may assign or license his rights in the registered design to the others.
An Industrial design is one of the key factors that attracts us to a product or leads us to prefer using one product over another. Protecting the way your product looks with an industrial design can provide a major competitive advantage; hence, it adds to the commercial value of a product and increase its marketability. So, protecting valuable designs should be a part of the business strategy of any designer or manufacturer. The registered designs are business assets that can increase the commercial value of a company and its products. The more successful a design, the higher its value to the company.
Tarikh Input: 21/12/2023 | Kemaskini: 21/12/2023 | uswahhasanah
UNIVERSITI PUTRA MALAYSIA
43400 UPM SERDANG