Malaysia - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property

Provides information on any manufacturing sectors or services where only citizens or a sub-set of the population in that country are allowed to own or sell.

Last published date: 2022-11-23

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has not listed Malaysia on the Special 301 list since 2012. In recent years, USTR conducted Out-of-Cycle Reviews to consider whether Malaysia provided adequate and effective IP protection and enforcement, including concerning patents. 

U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) owners should consider obtaining IPR protection in Malaysia before introducing their products or services to the Malaysian market. Companies may wish to obtain non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, seek advice from local attorneys, or consult with experts in Malaysian IP law before disclosing their technologies or business information to local partners. 

The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) oversees and administers Malaysia’s IP system. U.S. IP owners may register or apply for their IP rights in Malaysia for trademarks, patents, industrial designs, and geographical indications. An address for service in Malaysia and a local agent or attorney is generally required when filing IP applications at MyIPO. 

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organization, Malaysia generally observes the international intellectual property standards established by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Malaysia is also a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Madrid Protocol. Patent and trademark applicants may use these international systems for filing international patent and trademark applications for acquiring protection in Malaysia. Trademark registration is valid for ten years from the date of application and may be renewed every ten years.  

Copyrights are protected in Malaysia without any registration requirements. However, a copyright owner may register the copyright by filing a Copyright Voluntary Notification at MyIPO. Official certification of a registered copyright may serve as prima facie evidence of the particulars of the registered copyright and is admissible in all courts in Malaysia. 

Malaysia protects geographical indications (GIs) through the GI Act 2000. GI registration is not compulsory, and protection will still be available to GIs regardless of whether the GI has been registered. However, the registration certificate is prima facie evidence of the fact stated in the certificate and the registration’s validity. A registered geographical indication is given ten years of protection from the filing date and may be renewed every ten years. 

Malaysia is not a member of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). However, Malaysia’s Protection of New Plant Variety Act is administered by the Department of Agriculture (DOA). The Act provides some protection for plant breeders’ rights, but it does not comply with the UPOV standards. 

Trade secrets, such as data, formulas, or other confidential information used in business, may be protected in Malaysia if the owner provides appropriate measures to maintain the secrecy. While Malaysia supports efforts to enforce intellectual property rights (IPR), the quantity of counterfeit and pirated goods remains high. The Petaling Street Market in Kuala Lumpur is listed in the USTR Notorious Markets Report released in January 2021.  

In Malaysia, the Intellectual Property Courts consisting of 15 Sessions Courts with criminal jurisdictions and six High Courts with both civil and appellate jurisdictions, were established in 2007. An appeal can be made to the Court of Appeals and, on limited grounds, to the Federal Court.  

IPR owners need to be aware if their products/services are being counterfeited. IPR-related disputes can be complex. Therefore, if legal action is necessary, IPR owners are strongly recommended to seek advice from local attorneys who are experts in IP laws and litigation. It is also recommended that small and medium-sized companies understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts in protecting IP and stopping counterfeiting. There are a number of these organizations, both Malaysia and U.S.-based, which include: 

Biotechnology Industry Organization 

International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition 

International Intellectual Property Alliance  

International Trademark Association 

National Association of Manufacturers  

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America 

The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy 

The U.S. Chamber and local American Chambers of Commerce 

In a foreign market, companies should consider several general principles to protect their intellectual property effectively. For background, link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and or contact:   

 IP Attaché for Southeast Asia 

U.S. Embassy Bangkok 

U.S. Commercial Service 

Room 302, GPF Witthayu Tower A, 

93/1 Wireless Road 

Bangkok, 10330, Thailand  

Tel. +66-2-205-5243 

In addition, note the following steps:

Check the STOPfakes website: to see if the Office of Standards and Intellectual Property has an IP Snapshot for the country in question and a link to it if available.

Include the paragraph below and link to the stock language on IPR:

In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles to effectively protect their intellectual property. For background, link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and for more resources.”

List the IP Attaché or IPR Contact for your specific country. Check the IP Attaché Program USPTO to find your country-specific Attaché and their contact details.

For more information, contact ITA’s Office of Standards and Intellectual Property Rights (OSIP) Director, Stevan Mitchell, at

To access Malaysia’s ICS, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.