Special IP court moves step closer to reality

Malaysia

The creation of a specialized IP court has come one step closer to reality with the submission of a draft proposal to the attorney general last month.

The idea of a specialized court was first expressed last year by the minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs in the hope that specialized judges trained and experienced in IP matters would be able to dispose efficiently of IP cases (see Number of IP cases forces government to consider specialized court). Over the past few years, the number of cases dealing with IP issues filed in the courts, particularly with regard to copyright infringements, has been steadily increasing. A backlog of about 800 IP cases awaiting a court hearing has built up since October 2003. Most of these cases relate to infringement actions brought by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Another hope is that the court will help Malaysia to rid itself of its image as one of the top exporters of counterfeited DVDs and CDs in the world, as claimed by the US Trade Representative in its 2005 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.

The court is expected to be set up by the middle of next year. However, one issue that has not yet been debated is whether the volume of IP cases will indeed be sufficient to justify the cost of setting up and running the court.

Janet Toh Yoong San, Shearn Delamore & Co, Kuala Lumpur

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