5 mins read

Don't Screw IP

July 14, 2023
Dr. Afnizanfaizal Abdullah, General Manager
5 mins read

Picture yourself participating in a race. You’ve trained for months, sacrificing sleep and social life. You’re leading, but suddenly, another runner overtakes you. Their edge? Your well-devised running strategy, your personal training schedule, and even your customised high-performance running shoes without asking or giving you credit. A sense of injustice creeps in—-that’s your hard work, your innovation, all the things you spent months perfecting. 

In the world of research and business, such situations are commonplace. Researchers, startups, and entrepreneurs often find themselves in their own races of innovation, with their most valuable asset being Intellectual Property (IP). The custom strategies and prototypes all represent IP that warrant protection. 

Protecting IP isn’t just about staking a claim on your hard work, it’s about being one step ahead in a race of innovation. So, how do you start and how does MRANTI help you on your journey?

The start line: Understanding IP 

In the 1980s, Steve Jobs filed what is believed to be his first patent, the Personal Computer. To him, this wasn’t just another piece of hardware. He recognised that the ideas, designs, and the unique code that powered the machine were all as invaluable as the device itself. Since that time, Jobs has gone on to trademark the Apple brand, patent innovative designs, and use copyright laws to protect the software used on Apple devices. IP rights have been key to safeguarding Apple’s assets, ensuring they are not infringed, while giving the company a competitive advantage in the tech industry. 

Much like Jobs, navigating the innovation race requires an understanding of the different types of IP. 

What are the four types of intellectual property? 

IP, as the term suggests, refers to creations of the mind that hold commercial value. These fall into four types, with each IP category meant to protect a specific facet of your innovation: 

  1. Patents protect inventions. For instance, a startup might patent a new algorithm for more efficient data processing. 
  2. Trademarks protect your brand identity. These include your company’s unique logo or name. 
  3. Copyrights protect creative works. Whether a novel, a song, or a software, copyright laws protect original works of authorship. 
  4. Trade secrets protect confidential business information. Your company might possess a unique manufacturing process that you’d want to keep under wraps—trade secrets make this possible. 

When pursuing IP rights, it is important to remember that these do not exist in a vacuum. Instead, they are governed by legal frameworks and international conventions. Understanding these conventions and the features your innovation must exhibit is also crucial. For example, to patent an invention, your creation must fulfil the following three criteria:

  1. Be new, bringing something fresh to the table
  2. Be inventive, or at least involves inventive steps or being non-obvious to a person skilled in the art
  3. Be capable of industrial application 

Hence, understanding IP is key to ensuring you secure the rights you want.

Fostering innovation and economic growth

IP protection is also important because it encourages and rewards innovation. Like running a race to win a medal, IP rights are like the laurel at the end of a long process of research and development, a token of recognition and reward. 

Take the pharmaceutical industry, for example. Developing new drugs is a long, expensive process that might end in failure. But when a company succeeds, the patent on a new drug allows them to recoup their investment, and society gets to benefit from a potentially life-saving medication. 

In the same way, IP rights also have a profound effect on economic growth and technological advancement. A robust IP framework fosters an environment that encourages innovation, leading to the growth of industries and the creation of jobs. For instance, let’s look at the tech boom in Silicon Valley, where an ecosystem of robust IP protection has attracted the brightest minds and biggest investors. Giants like Google, Apple, and Meta have been nurtured here, employing thousands and contributing significantly to economic growth. 

Closer to home, government initiatives like Dasar Pengkomersialan Harta Intelek dan Reka Cipta Dibiayai Kerajaan 2021-2025 have been established to prioritise IP protection and the commercialisation of IP through government-funded research and development, creativity, and innovation. Such policies are designed to encourage inventions, works, and designs that will resultantly create jobs and add to Malaysia’s economic growth. 

However, IP protection isn’t just about economic growth. It is also the driving force behind technological advancements. When a new patent is filed, it is publicly disclosed. This enables other researchers to learn from it, get inspired, build upon it, and foster a cycle of continuous innovation. In other words, while IP protection gives you a headstart in the race of innovation, it also keeps things exciting, rewarding, and beneficial to all. 

Don’t do the long run alone

Having an innovative or impactful idea is one thing, but taking the idea from research to production is a different challenge altogether. It’s a long run, but it’s not one that you’ll have to do alone. 

Here at MRANTI, we are committed to nurturing and supporting innovation at every step of your journey. We offer a comprehensive range of solutions from ideation and research, to prototyping, validation, scaling, and even exploring potential partnerships. Our expert-led support is designed to foster the growth of innovative business ideas while guiding you through the steps of securing your IP rights. 

In line with our continued dedication to fueling innovation, we are also excited to hint at the upcoming launch of an all-in-one platform, designed to offer tools and resources to MATCH your ideas with their appropriate IP rights. We’re making IP protection smoother and more streamlined than ever. 

So turn the long run into an exciting relay. Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming launch, and follow our platforms to keep updated on ways to make your innovation journey all the more easier.