Malaysia has an opportunity to develop its Intellectual Property capabilities to be on a par with the best countries in the Pacific Rim. It is a relatively small country with an active inventor population in its major industries, small and medium companies, entrepreneurs, and Universities. This inventor community is not presently focused on obtaining IP. It is, however, as innovative as their neighboring countries. This lack of focus can be changed effectively and quickly if the government ministries can provide an environment that IP could flourish. This focus will need to be instigated with both a disciplined set of IP requirements in order to obtain government R&D grants, and incentives that will reward inventors with recognition, successful implementation of their IP and personal financial benefit.

This change of focus could be accomplished through natural market dynamics but that would probably take too long and may not be as effective. Creating an IP culture for Malaysia will need a coordinated effort by government, the IP community and the inventor community. The government needs to create regulations that enable IP creation and that require IP-related activates tied to its grant programs. Government commitment to IP will accelerate the needed changes and institutionalize them. This government initiative can take on a number of different forms. It can range from advisory and peripheral to aggressive and active involvement. Some approaches that were discussed during our interviews with various IP and government leaders during our trip to Malaysia last week were:

  • Creating a government holding company that would manage a portfolio of IP for the projects and companies it has a stake in

  • Using a government subsidized private Malaysian firm to manage IP for small and medium companies

  • Creating a standard for government grants to include a disciplined IP consideration as part of its awarding decision

  • Using the government’s pulpit to promote, support and incentivize the obtaining and managing of IP

  • Support and encourage private IP firms to offer services to companies that could not otherwise afford to

Malaysia has the benefit of learning from companies and countries that have successfully created an IP focus. Countries like Ireland, India, and Sweden along with IBM, Dow Chemical and Hewlett Packard all provide successful examples of raising IP to a level that significantly and positively impacts their financial bottom line. We believe Malaysia can accomplish this same transformation quickly and effectively with the caliber of people in all sectors of the country. All it will take is leadership and commitment.

Posted by: Gordon Petrash on 21/9/2005 10:36:40 AM