Archives for July 2011
Celebrities are famed for their very name and personality – in many instances becoming brands in themselves – making it all the more crucial to protect their names, as well as the names they use as trademarks. Being public figures, they are usually sought after for endorsements, and their lavish livelihood is often more dependent on the royalties they receive from third parties than from their main career. It comes as no surprise then that copycats would want to associate their companies or products as that belonging to or endorsed by a celebrity, in order to confuse the public and ride on the celebrity’s fame. Trademark protection is, as such, essential to celebrities the world over, and what better way to illustrate this than to take a look at how celebrities from our very own shores are tackling the situation?
Bette Midler famously said, “Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world”. Looks like women have more than just beautiful shoes to thank Dato’ Jimmy Choo for then! Just the sight of the trademark “Jimmy Choo” is enough to send many a girl’s heart a-fluttering, and his shoes are adored and coveted by women all over the world. Better still, Dato’ Jimmy Choo is one of our own; he is a Malaysian shoe designer based in London, UK.
The Malaysian IP Court recently decided on a case where a family feud became entangled in an IP dispute involving five plaintiffs and seven defendants.
Plaintiffs Soon Seng Palm Oil Mill (Gemas) Sdn. Bhd., Soon Seng Palm Products Sdn. Bhd., Gemas Oil Mill Sdn. Bhd., Dominion Palm Oil Mill Sdn. Bhd. and Soon Seng Palm Oil Mill Sdn. Bhd. initiated an action at the IP Court in Kuala Lumpur in 2009 to obtain an order from the Court to prevent Defendants Jang Kim Luang @ Yeo Kim Luang, Foong Lai Sun, Ecofuture Berhad, Interactive Star Sdn. Bhd., Stable-Win Sdn. Bhd., Ecofibre Technology Sdn. Bhd. and Ecologico Packaging Sdn. Bhd. from using confidential information belonging to the plaintiffs. This action revolves around Malaysian Patent No. MY-125685-A and Malaysian Utility Innovation No. MY-137256-A, claiming shredders used in palm oil mills.
Malaysia, being one of the fast developing countries, has been showing keen interest in stem cell research and therapy. As the awareness in stem cell technology increases, issues like morals and ethics have been raised by various parties such as religious bodies and conservative organizations. These controversies do not only occur in Malaysia but also in other parts of the world where stem cell based work has long since been conducted.
On 10 March 2011, Yves Bot, one of the advocates general to the European Union’s Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, recommended that the patenting of inventions which involve a use of embryonic stem cells should be prohibited.
It is often claimed that Malaysia is rich in biodiversity resources, that we have the world’s oldest rainforests, that our rainforest is pristine and virgin, untouched commercially by the human hand. But are we taking advantage of this biodiversity asset to serve the needs of the country or the global community? Do we have the technical know-how or the financial resources and incentives to do that?
The abundance of natural resources in Malaysia has yet to be fully exploited by researchers here. Many believe that possible cures for some of today’s life-threatening diseases can be found in the rainforests of countries rich in cultural and biological diversity, where so much has yet to be explored. With resources in some developed countries fast depleting, many corporations are looking at other countries in search of potentially valuable genetic material and biochemical compounds in nature.