MyIPO Fund Helping Young Inventors To Patent Their Products

By Kurniawati Kamarudin

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- For two years, industrial designer Ahmad Johari Ismail and his brother Mohd Azahari worked hard to develop a product that enhanced road safety.

Their prototype, called Multi-Purpose Barricade System, has a dual function: besides serving as a road safety feature, it can also be used as a panel for advertisements.

The innovation is not ready to be marketed yet but the siblings have realised the importance of patenting their product.

"I know how crucial it is for us to patent our product in order to protect our intellectual property rights and prevent others from plagiarising our idea.

"Patenting our product would also enhance its value. Besides that, we want to make sure that the sweat and effort we had put into our research and developing our product do not go to waste, " said Ahmad Johari, 26, a graduate in the field of industrial design from Universiti Kuala Lumpur.

However, getting their product patented would set them back nearly RM7,000 in registration fees, which was a big sum for young entrepreneurs like Ahmad Johari and Mohd Azahari, 36.

Fortunately, two years ago they came to know that the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) had set up a special fund to help youths, as well as university students, to register the intellectual properties of their inventions or innovations before commercialising them.

SPECIAL FUND

Ahmad Johari applied for the funding online in 2016 and within six months MyIPO informed him that his request had been approved and he would be given a grant of RM6,000 to apply for a patent for his road safety prototype.

The special fund is provided under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), whereby RM500,000 will be allocated annually for the duration of the five-year plan to help students and young entrepreneurs register their intellectual property rights.

Ahmad Johari said after his request for funding was approved, he embarked on the process of applying for a patent for his product.

"It's a long process and it will take at least three years before my application is approved, " he told Bernama, adding that the lengthy period involved could be one of the reasons why young entrepreneurs tend to refrain from having their ideas, designs, innovations, logos and trademarks patented and protected.

He added that having intellectual property rights would enable their owners to take legal action if others tried to infringe their rights without their permission.

MyIPO's funding facility has also helped entrepreneur Izat Izwan Idzian, 28, to get the trademark for his food delivery business registered.

The intellectual property rights for the brand Foodbike, which he used to operate his business, became his after his application was approved by MyIPO.

"Earlier, I had applied for the funding online and it was approved after six months. With the availability of this (MyIPO) fund, I didn't have to scratch my head thinking about how to get the money to pay to have my trademark registered, " he said.

According to Izat Izwan, not many businessmen were aware of the fund's existence and that some of his friends who ran their own businesses came to know of it through him.

"The availability of this fund will encourage more young people to patent their products and protect their businesses. We don\'t want our hard work to be copied by others, " he added.

ENCOURAGING RESPONSE

There are different components of intellectual properties that can be protected under various laws in Malaysia.

The components are trademarks, that is, the brand, logo or trade name of a business; patent for new inventions and innovations; industrial design; copyright to music, arts, written works or performance; and geographical indication (GI).

GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

According to MyIPO Director-General Datuk Shamsiah Kamaruddin, the response to the special fund established by the agency has been encouraging.

A total of 539 applications for funding was approved in 2016 and 2017, exceeding MyIPO's target of 200 applications a year.

Only Malaysian citizens aged between 18 and 40 are eligible to apply for funding from MyIPO. Open to entrepreneurs, inventors and creators, students of government recognised tertiary institutions or skills institutes can also apply for funding to have the intellectual property rights of their innovations registered.

For the GI component, the applicants for funding can be associations or organisations comprising members of the local community.

The funds given to the successful applicants would cover MyIPO's fees for filing the registration, as well as the fees charged by the registration agent, said Shamsiah.

"Each applicant is entitled to only one component of the intellectual properties," she said, adding that the money for successful applicants would be given to them in the form of vouchers.

It costs RM1,500 to register a trademark while it is RM7,000 for a patent, RM3,000 for industrial design and RM600 for copyright.

Shamsiah added that intellectual property rights allowed entrepreneurs to build stronger business empires and put them in a better position to penetrate domestic and foreign markets.

BERNAMA