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Malaysia Intellectual Property Office said there were 1,777 trademark registrations in 2000. Last year, the figure leaped to 34,566. (Pic courtesy of MyIPO twitter)

INTELLECTUAL property (IP) is the key to business expansion and sustainability. This is critical in the 21st-century economy, including in Asean and Asia Pacific. Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Amazon and Tencent depend on intellectual property and trademark to maintain their leadership in global business, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Developing countries and China have caught up in innovation from intellectual property, according to the Trilateral Offices of European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

At the Global Innovation Index 2018, China emerged as one of the world’s top 20 innovative economies, while Switzerland retained its top spot in the Global Innovation Index published by Cornell University; INSEAD, a graduate business school; and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

IP is the engine of the world’s leading high-tech firms and life-transforming innovations and creations. IP is a component in market capitalisation and valuation.

Trademarks and IP remain a fundamental part in almost
all global trade agreements, including bilateral trade agreements penned by the US with developed and developing countries.

Malaysia Intellectual Property Office said there were 1,777 trademark registrations in 2000. Last year, the figure leaped to 34,566.

This is evidence of the business value and marketing importance of IP and the new sound trademark.

They are the key drivers of business, entrepreneurship and marketing leadership, from top players to domestic small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Sound trademark will push the momentum of trademark registration once MyIPO opens up its first sound trademark registration under the new Trademark Act 2019.

The Beijing High People’s Court granted China’s first sound trademark case in favour of QQ, an instant messaging software services by Tencent, China.

The sound trademark is for QQ’s signature “Di-Di-Di-Di-Di-Di” notification sound.

The Japan Patent Office granted its first sound trademark to Taiko Pharmaceutical Co Ltd for a sound mark played by trumpet (TM Application No. 2105-29809) for the gastrointestinal medicine Seirogan.

In the US, sound trademark has been recognised long before it hit Asean and Asia-Pacific shores.

Notable examples are Mockingjay Whistle by Lions Gate Entertainment for its Hunger Games franchise; Law & Order’s two-strike “chung chung” created by composer Mike Post; and Tarzan’s Yell (made famous by actor Johnny Weissmuller) owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc.

In Malaysia, the owner of Upin Ipin could apply for sound trademark relating to “Betul Betul Betul”.

Malaysia is opening up new lands in the trademark frontier. The Trade Mark Bill 2019 has gone through the first reading in Parliament and will complete due parliamentary process before it is gazetted for implementation.

This new law will transform the marketplace of the 21st century. Business at home and abroad must gear up to take advantage of this law.

Business can innovate by adopting a more creative and interesting way of doing, marketing and promoting entrepreneurship by use of the new sound trademark, in combination
with traditional graphical trademark.

Other advantages in the new provisions are collective mark, certification mark, global protection, wider priority claim, enhanced protection and tougher border measures, such as seizure and forfeiture of infringing goods.

The Trademark Act 2019 will propel the government’s IP initiatives, policy and economic agenda for an inclusive marketplace integration.

Businesses and SMEs are advised to take advantage of this sound trademark provided for under the new law to create a new business ocean in Malaysia, Asean and beyond to boost competitiveness and improve the ease of doing business.

Zinatul Ashiqin Zainol and Jeong Chun Phuoc

Shah Alam, Selangor

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