msc status

The Malaysian Patent

The basic criteria for Malaysian patentability are novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.

It is also good to know what is not patentable in Malaysia.

The following are specifically excluded from patentability:

discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;

plant and animal varieties and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals;

schemes, rules and methods of doing business, and purely mental acts and games; and

methods of treatment of humans or animals by surgery or therapy, and diagnostic methods practised on humans or animals.


But what about software?

Well, software is based on a mathematical formula and so if we rely strictly on the above clause, it is non-patentable in Malaysia. But we can file for software patent in US, UK, Japan and Australia albeit with a level of uncertainty as to whether a patent will be granted. As we are entering the world of Industry 4.0, there will be plenty of ideas based on computing. Everything that the technologist can think of, they will find ways and means to digitise it so that they can use automation to improve work efficiency. Entities like Grab, Uber and Airbnb which is running our lives rely on software to make it work. When we talk about robots, we will have to talk about software.

And the elephant in the room, the most important aspect of our future lives is Artificial Intelligence which is essentially a software program and engineers all over the place is rushing to couple AI unto any types of machines so that we can sit relaxed somewhere whilst the machines work out by themselves! Indeed we cannot visualize a world without software and because of that, we will need to have ways and means to protect those ideas and also to offer those brilliant minds who help conceive it to a fortune. Hopefully, Malaysia will find ways to amend its laws to make software a patentable thing as otherwise; the country will lose these talents to other countries that allow software patents. Although the law states that no mathematical formulas are allowed but if we were to look at present day software, we will notice that apart of them working on mathematics, they also include techniques that are self-learning, like machine learning that is certainly of industrial use. It is technology so to speak. There is certainly a technical contribution to the art so to speak and we will need to allow for software patent. It is not like a calculator anymore!

Another big problem is that we do not allow business patents. But today's business idea is mostly run on the internet. And when we talk to start ups, we will inevitably have to touch on the internet. Some time back the US allowed Amazon to have a patent on the "one click" idea to perform shopping cart payment. And what about mobile processes that truly run our lives such that we cannot do anything if we were to keep our mobiles at home! Of course that also involve hardware as well but you get the idea that we are living in a very different world to that when the patent laws were promulgated. And so we will need to see amendments to the patent laws of old or we need to include an escape clause.


What about restrictions on any other kinds of invention?

The following are specifically excluded from patentability:

discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;

plant and animal varieties and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals;

schemes, rules and methods of doing business, and purely mental acts and games; and

methods of treatment of humans or animals by surgery or therapy, and diagnostic methods practised on humans or animals.

Well, we have gene splicing techniques that will certainly change our lives and some people will live another day because we can change things beyond our imaginations. Well, God did not offer us a solution and thus scientist went all the way to defy the natural laws to bring about innovations. And the US does offer life science patents albeit with plenty of objections from God fearing citizens. Well, maybe a few of the remaining fences will be knocked off in the future too!


If you are going to draft your own patent, then learn what is Patent Formating all about

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