New to Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some of the types are defined in the section below (click title to expand and read more).

A trademark is a sign that distinguishes the goods and services of one trader from that of others. The sign can be used in the form of a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, number, or any combination thereof.

The registration of an individual as the registered proprietor of the trademark in respect of the goods and services grants that person the exclusive right to use the trademark in relation to those goods and services. In Malaysia, the registration of a trademark is for a period of 10 years, although it may be renewed from time to time in perpetuity.

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention which provides the patent owner with the right on how and whether the invention can be used by others. In exchange for this right, the patent owner makes technical information about the invention publicly available in the patent document. An invention refers to the idea of an inventor- either a product or process – that permits in practice the solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. An invention is patentable if it is globally new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable.

An industrial design refers to features of shape, configuration, pattern, or ornament applied to an article by any industrial process which in the finished article appeals to the eye and is judged by the eye. An industrial design cannot be registered unless it is new.

Copyright is a branch of intellectual property law that protects the proprietary rights of authors in relation to their created works which include literary works, artistic works, musical works, films, sound recordings and broadcasts.  Copyright law entitles the owner of the copyright to control any actions in relation to the created work for a certain number of years.

Since it is not mandatory to obtain a patent to protect an invention, the inventor may choose to keep the details secret. Any confidential information that provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. This includes manufacturing or industrial secrets and commercial secrets. The unauthorised use of such information by persons other than the holder or inventor is regarded as unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret.

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