IP courts operational soon

Malaysia

The Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Shafie Apdal, has announced that specialist IP courts are expected to be operational by the end of July 2007. Apdal stated that there will be 15 Sessions Courts, one for each state, set up to hear criminal prosecutions involving IP issues. In addition, six High Courts will be granted the status of 'special designated courts' in states with the highest number of IP rights infringements. These states are the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Perak, Sabah, Sarawak and Selangor. The IP courts will have jurisdiction to hear cases related to IP infringements and offences under the Copyright Act 1987, the Trade Descriptions Act 1972, the Patents Act 1983 and the Optical Disc Act 2000.

The minister highlighted that Malaysia is still on the international watch list of countries with a high number of IP offences and the setting up of IP courts shows Malaysia's commitment to protecting IP rights. It has been reported that there were 515 IP-related cases filed in the magistrate court as of June 1 2006 and, as of December 31 2006, 1,030 cases were filed in the Sessions Court and 67 in the High Court.

The Malaysian government aims to expedite the adjudication and disposal of IP cases with the establishment of the IP Courts. It is hoped that this will enhance the attractiveness of Malaysia as a destination for foreign investment.

Teo Bong Kwang and Alan Ng, Wong Jin Nee & Teo, Kuala Lumpur

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