The Malaysian Government has set up specialized courts to handle Intellectual Property suits.
There are 15 Sessions Court, at least one Sessions Court in each state and 6 High Courts recognised as “special designated courts” to handle Intellectual Property disputes. The High Court will be in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Perak, Sabah and Sarawak.
The Sessions Court will hear criminal offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 and Copyright Act 1987 and Optical Disc Act 2000. In Malaysia, infringement of patents and industrial designs are not criminal offences but only civil offences.
The High Court however, has wide jurisdiction. It can hear both civil and criminal offences. Appeals from the Sessions Court would probably be heard by the designated IP High Courts. Appeals from the High Court will be heard by the Court of Appeal, and appeal from which will be heard by the Federal Court.
The setting up of special IP Courts is a strong move by the Government to strictly enforce IP Rights. As the country increases and aims to attract knowledge based industries, this move is apt and timely.