Malaysia is one of the few countries that has a ‘utility model’ system under its patent rights system. The Patent Act 1983 grants two types of right for invention – first is a patent right per se and the second is what is referred to as ‘Certificate for Utility Innovation’ (hereinafter referred to as “CUI”). Many owners of novel industrial products are not fully clear of what is the best way to protect the intellectual property rights for their products. This article will attempt to explain the unique features of the Malaysian CUI, to show the differences between a CUI and Industrial Design Rights and to give some practical advice on the best way to protect novel industrial products in Malaysia.
Like in other countries, patents for industrial products are granted when the claimed feature(s) of the product are (i) novel; (ii) involves an inventive step (that is it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art); and (iii) it is industrially applicable. To qualify for a patent,Malaysia demands absolute novelty – in that, the invention should not have been published anywhere in the world by way of oral disclosure, written documents or by way of use.