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Malaysia – Changes To Industrial Design Law Proposed

The Industrial Designs Law in Malaysia, which is governed by the Industrial Designs Act 1997 and the Industrial Designs Regulations 1999, is likely to be substantially changed in 2010 or 2011. There was no recorded amendment to the legislation in 2009. However this year, the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) has initiated the review of the designs law with IP practitioners and industry practice groups.

Some of the important issues raised and discussed during their dialogue sessions include:

  • Extending the maximum ter of protection for an industrial design from 15 years to a maximum of 25 years.
  • Introducing a stricter novelty test. At present, the novelty requirement for an industrial design in Malaysia is not absolute. It has been proposed that a stricter approach to the requirements of novelty be adopted.
  • Allowing spare parts to be registered as industrial designs. The registration of spare parts as industrial designs is prohibited, but it has been proposed that spare parts should not be made subject to the so-called must-match exclusion and should be allowed to register. Since the above proposal has attracted much comment, it was agreed that the proposal should be further studies before any final decision is made.

The purpose of the above changes is to harmonise the Malaysian law with international law. The amendments will also reduce the inconsistencies of the existing practice and uphold objective interpretation of the law.