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In-depth features

Malaysia has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, sending ripples through the rest of the world. The coronavirus has led to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation in August, following criticism of his Covid-19 policies; factory closures in the country have contributed to the global chip shortage, particularly among vehicles made by Volkswagen; and Malaysians have suffered through repeated extensions of the country’s lockdowns, which have persisted since the movement control order (MCO) was first imposed in March 2020.  

Despite Covid-19, Malaysia saw a strong increase in international patent applications filed via the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). International applications grew by 4 percent in 2020 to reach 275,900 applications – the highest number ever, despite a drop in global GDP of 3.5 percent. Malaysia, on the other hand, saw an increase of 26.2 percent in applications in 2020, with a total of 255 applications, up from 202 in 2019. 

In September 2019, Malaysia joined the Madrid Protocol, making Malaysia the 106th member of the Madrid System. The Protocol entered into force for Malaysia on December 27, 2019. International trademark applications via Madrid, therefore, saw a tremendous increase in Malaysia, registering 102 applications in 2020 versus just 21 registered at the end of 2019.  


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Adastra was founded in 2004; today, the firm has offices in Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and throughout the ASEAN region. Mohan K is the firm’s managing director; he has 19 years of experience in IP and is a firm advocate of patentability of IT inventions. He is noted for effective communication to clients. Edrea Poh Tze Wei runs the firm’s Chinese desk; she is a commercialization executive with the firm, working with clients to bring concepts to market. 

Adipven, an intellectual property consulting and commercialization firm, was formed by a group of IP and commercialization specialists that recognize the importance of protecting intellectual property. Managing director Ramakrishna Damodharan, director Norlela Mat Lias and senior associate Nur Amalina are also key contacts.  

The IP team at full-service firm Azmi & Associates is rapidly building its reputation with a focus on information technology and media and telecommunications. Some of its notable work includes assisting with the review of documentation in respect of IP financing in Malaysia from financial institutions planning to accepting IP as collateral. It also advises on the protection of rights in products developed by IT clients and assists in the subsequent commercialization through licensing or outright sales and assignments. 

Bustaman provides advice on the IP life cycle, from creation through commercialization and defence of IP rights. Adhuna Kamarul Ariffin is the firm’s managing partner; she has been with the firm since 1996 when she joined as a paralegal. She advises clients on a broad range of IP issues, including franchising, licensing and related corporate matters. She has acted for several successful foreign franchisors in the food and beverage and retail sectors. She also handles IP litigation. 

Partner Tze Lin Chong, whose practice focuses on intellectual property and commercial litigation, leads the IP firm of ChongSoo Partnership, a boutique law firm that focuses on IP rights, among others. Chong has represented major companies in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, strategizing local and regional enforcement strategies and carrying out anti-counterfeiting operations. 

Established in 1962 and 1986, respectively, Chooi & Company and Cheang & Ariff were mid-sized law firms that have grown to become respected and recognized for their dispute resolution practice and corporate and financial services practice. Now as Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff, the firm offers a full range of legal services that focuses on corporate and commercial litigation, criminal law and public interest disputes. The firm is noted for its media and entertainment work, including content licensing, production, and acquisition and distribution deals, including mobile apps, games, music, television programming and content distributed over the internet. The firm handles copyright and other IP portfolio matters for clients, mainly MNCs and publicly listed companies from Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, China, Hong Kong, France, Canada, Scotland and Brazil, among others. The firm was named 2021 Malaysia copyright firm of the year at the Asia IP awards. 

Formed in 2003 as a result of a merger among three Malaysian law firms, Christopher & Lee Ong handles antitrust and competition matters – from investigations to antitrust factors of M&As or joint venture transactions, audits and corporate structuring. The team led by partner Yon See Ting focuses on matters relating to communications, aviation and the energy sector.  

IP specialist DCC Advanz is the Malaysian combination of Davies Collison Cave and Advanz Fidelis. The firm is known for its focus on clients’ business strategies. The firm houses a large team of professionals, from various technical backgrounds, who advise on prosecution, opposition and infringement proceedings. It also manages IP portfolios and draft patent applications for corporate clients. The well-respected Debbie David is managing principal; Pui Keng Lim heads the trademarks division, Andrew Yee heads the patents division and Siew Ling Lee heads the legal and consulting division. 

Gan Partnership is a dispute resolution- and IP-focused firm based in Kuala Lumpur. Partner Foong Lam Tai focuses on IP work at the firm, as well as IT and telecommunications. In addition to negotiating and drafting commercial agreements relating to IP, Tai also has an active IP litigation and enforcement practice; he has been involved in several IP litigation cases which have been reported in Malaysian law journals. Tai recently joined the firm from Abdullah Chan. Partner Khong Aik Gan provides advice on TMT matters. 

With a team of more than 70 professionals from various areas of specialty in Malaysia, leading IP agency Henry Goh & Co. offers a range of services include prefiling patentability advice, filing and prosecution, renewals, maintenance, advice on exploitation and enforcement. It is also capable of undertaking prosecution work before the Registrar. Executive director Dave A. Wyatt heads the patent and industrial design team, joined by managing director Karen Goh, and executive directors Joanne Wong and Sau Yin Tham. 

Josephine, LK Chow & Co. was founded in 2006, and has since developed a reputation for providing business-focused advice at affordable prices. In addition to IP, the full-service firm advises on dispute resolution, employment law, corporate and commercial, construction law and other matters. The firm has five partners, including founding partners Josephine Ng and Cyndi Chow. Chow has handled numerous IP cases before the high court and appellate courts. Partner Khaik Kew Peh is an enforcement specialist who spearheads IP at the firm. 

Founded in 1999, IP specialist firm KASS International provides advisory and consultation services in all IP issues including the filing, prosecution and maintenance of IP rights. In addition to drafting IP related agreements, it is involved in the identification, valuation, servicing, protection, management and commercial exploitation of IP rights. Some of its clients include the Asian Football Confederation, the Association of Malaysia Medical Industries, Senheng Electric and Kendek Industry. It has offices in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Yangon and Singapore. Director Geetha Kandiah is supported by founder and director P. Kandiah and Indonesia country manager Carola Monintja. 

The LAW Partnership is the relationship firm of Singapore firm Harry Elias Partnership. LAW Partnership is helmed by managing partner and IP head Suaran Singh Sidhu, partner Brian Law and partner Celia Cheah. Law has represented a Japanese battery manufacturer in successfully invalidating and expunging a substantially similar trademark in Malaysia on the basis that it was, among others, obtained by way of fraud, and represented one of the largest security seal manufacturers in managing its global trademark and patent portfolio, and in securing a permanent injunction and paid settlement sum in a successful patent infringement claim in Malaysia. The firm has recently expanded into corporate and commercial work; Raphael Tay joined the firm from Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill to run that practice. 

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhills services extend to Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang. The firm assists domestic and international clients in managing, protecting, exploiting and enforcing IP rights. It has acted for the Prime Minister of Malaysia in providing legal strategy on the nation’s branding. Partners Bahari Yeow Tien Hong and Zhi Jian Lim have left the firm; Adlin Abdul Majid is a key practitioner. The firm acted for Fortune 500 company PPG Industries on its passing-off and trademark infringement claims. 

Well-established IP specialist Marks & Clerk handles all areas of intellectual property, with particular strengths in life science, information technology and electronics. The firm has a global reputation for delivering quality parent prosecution and its Malaysia office handles patent drafting to UK and European standards. The Kuala Lumpur office is led by directors Gerald Samuel and Chris Hemingway. The firm was named 2023 Malaysia patent firm of the year at the Asia IP awards.  

Ming & Partners was established in July 2020 by Jordan Keong Ming Wai; he was joined by three partners less than a year later in May 2021. Keong acts in disputes resolutions involving intellectual property, technology, corporate litigation and construction. Ming Wai also specializes in corporate advisory works for intellectual property and technology, corporate restructuring as well as construction matters. Kuan Lim is also noted for his IP litigation and IP registration work. Three of the four joined the firm from Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff. The firm’s goal, Keong says, is to provide effective and commercially sound advice to clients. 

Boutique network Mirandah Asia has been serving IP owners in the region for over 25 years. The family-run business has offices in Malaysia and 10 other Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. The firm handles both non-contentious and contentious work for patent, trademark, copyright, design, domain names and geographic indications. Patrick Mirandah, founder and CEO, is based in Kuala Lumpur; its Singapore office, led by Gladys Mirandah, coordinates the activities of all Asian offices. 

The IP and TMT teams at Naqiz & Partners are led by senior partner Syed Naqiz Shahabuddin. The firm provides advice on a full range of IP and TMT matters, including licensing, franchising, confidential information, e-commerce, media, data privacy, systems outsourcing, emerging technologies and biotechnology and human sciences, as well as patents, trademarks and copyrights. 

Regional IP firm Pintas was founded in Malaysia in 1998, and today has offices in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Johor Bahru and Sabah. Choon Hong Lok specializes in all aspects of intellectual property registration, transfer, licensing, commercialization, enforcement and advisory work and is actively involved in IP consultancy for clients in the ASEAN and China regions for the past 15 years. 

The IP and technology team at Rahmat Lim & Partners offers a wide range of contentious and non-contentious IP-related services and advises on a broad spectrum of enforcement, management and transactional issues. The firm assists clients in making urgent court applications for injunctions and search and seizure orders as well as participating in raid actions. Partner Pauline Khor, head of the intellectual property and technology department, is known for her fresh perspective and creative resolutions and has 18 years of experience advising and acting for foreign and local multinational companies. Notable clients include Chanel, Walt Disney, Sony and Philips. 

Founded in 1964, commercial law firm Raja, Darryl & Loh brings commercial and corporate elements into IP matters as lawyers provide holistic solutions to problems for clients including Microsoft, HP and Sharp. Partner Phye Keat Chew heads corporate and commercial, and has a significant practice in commercial, corporate, ICT and IP laws, with notable cases including advising Petrofac on the defense of alleged patent infringement claims on offshore platforms. He is also focusing on competition law as a new practice. Partner Yvonne Ong, head of the IP practice group, focuses on the protection and enforcement of patent, trademark and copyright. She has acted for Bridgestone on trademark, patent and design matters. 

Established in 1973, mid-sized firm Ram Caroline Sha & Syah provides a full spectrum of legal services with particular strength in the areas of intellectual property, general litigation and conveyancing. Practice areas include registration of patents, trademarks and industrial design, statutory declarations for copyright and IP licensing. Managing partner Caroline Francis is a key contact. 

RDS Advocates & Solicitors has taken a great step forward in the IP arena with the hire of Bahari Yeow, who heads the firm’s IP and TMT practice. Yeow is an enthusiastic partner for his clients, who call him “very knowledgable” and cite him for his “commitment and passion.” Partner Zhi Jian Lim focuses on protection, management and monetization of IP rights, and is a noted IP litigator. Partner Kenny Lam is a partner in the firm’s litigation practice, who specializes in IP matters. The firm also has practice areas specializing in data protection and FinTech. 

Full-service firm Shearn Delamore & Co’s IP practice is led by Karen Abraham, with its IP team providing professional services for more than 40 years and being widely recognized as one of the leading firms for patent filing, patent infringement and invalidation actions in Malaysia. Some of its notable clients include Marriott, Hermes, Formula One Management and British American Tobacco. Other top practitioners include Jyeshta Mahendran, Indran Shanmuganathan, Timothy Siaw and Khai Jian Yap. The firm was named the 2023 copyright firm of the year for Malaysia at the Asia IP Awards.  

Shin Associates, formed in 2008 as a sole proprietorship and having grown since then to a full-fledged law firm, has developed winning reputations particularly in TMT, entertainment law and media law. The firm works closely with filmmakers, television and film production companies, electronic and gaming studios, theatre groups, performers and songwriters. It has a strong IP practice, as well, providing contentious and non-contentious advice to sectors including media, fashion, food and beverage, telecommunications, e-commerce and pharmaceuticals. 

Corporate law firm Shook Lin & Bok is one of the oldest firms in Malaysia, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018. Its IP team is recognized for its services in litigious matters as well as filings and prosecutions. Michael Soo, who is deputy managing partner of the firm and leads the firm’s IP and IT departments, was a former president of Malaysia Intellectual Property Association and is the immediate past president of Asian Patent Attorneys Association. In recent years, he successfully defended one of the largest civil engineering firms in Malaysia as lead counsel in a trial involving alleged copyright infringement of several well-known brands of software. 

Skrine’s sizeable IP department provides comprehensive IP services with an excellent track record in contentious and advisory matters. The firm acted for Dyson in patent dispute involving its bladeless fan technology. It also successfully has Ronic Corporation’s application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court dismissed in its infringement claim against Cadware. The outstanding Charmayne Ong is head of the intellectual property division, joined by partners and leading practitioners including Leela Baskaran, and Pei Yee Kuek. Former partner Grace Teoh has left the firm to pursue an MBA degree in Australia. 

IP boutique Sreenevasan specializes in litigation with IP being its primary field of expertise. Renowned litigator Ambiga Sreenevasan established and leads the firm alongside co-founding partner Janini Rajeswaran. The firm focuses on intellectual property litigation and advisory work and is particularly well-versed in conducting enforcement proceedings and anti-piracy actions. 

Established in 1989, the IP team at commercial law firm Tay & Partners is recognized for its professional services in registration and prosecution, copyright protection, enforcement and IP transaction. Partner Lin Li Lee, who heads the IP, data protection and technology, multimedia and telecommunications practice groups, focuses on contentious matters involving patent, trade mark, copyright and industrial design infringement and passing off including anti-counterfeiting actions. She also regularly advises on cross-border transactions including franchising, licensing, technology transfer and transfer of ownership. 

Lin Yik Tee is the founder of Tee Intellectual Property, which today boasts the second-largest patent team in Malaysia, according to the firm. The firm works with brands including Pinklady, the 28 Days Group of Companies, the Ban Lee Hin Group, TDG Asia, Yi Feng Restaurant and AIA. The firm works with its sister organization, Tee Consulting Group, to provide clients with franchise agreements, shareholder agreements and commercial agreements designed for IP commercialization and protection. 

Wong & Partners, the Malaysia member firm of Baker McKenzie, is known for its work in patent litigation, filing and strategies. The firm has been engaged by La Pointique against its previous distributor, SJC Solex, in trademark infringement cases. Lead partner Kherk Ying Chew, one of the top litigators in the country, heads up the practice, which has advised clients both major Malaysian companies like Measat Broadcast Network Systems as well as international businesses. 

IP and technology boutique Wong Jin Nee & Teo provides a wide-spectrum of IP and technology law services and is renowned for its work in trademark application, litigation, as well as brand protection and enforcement work. Partners Jin Nee Wong and Bong Kwang Teo are recognized for their expertise in handling both litigation and non-contentious matters that extend to integrated IP services including portfolio management and exploitation both locally and abroad. The firm was named the 2023 Asia IP trademark firm of the year for Malaysia. 

Singapore-based Yusarn Audrey opened its Kuala Lumpur office in late 2016; the firm today has an in-house technical team to assist clients in intellectual property prosecution covering patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs, franchises, intellectual property licensing, corporate and dispute resolution. The team comprises lawyers, registered patents, trademarks and industrial designs agents who are qualified and experienced in Malaysia. 

Zain & Co. is a full-service firm with a solid reputation and strong credentials; it is the Malaysia member firm of Dentons. Zain & Co.’s key practice areas include intellectual property, corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, real estate, banking, and Islamic banking and finance. The firm is developing new practice areas in high-net worth Islamic estate planning, cybersecurity, blockchain, construction adjudication, film and media. Dentons already has a strong presence in Singapore and Myanmar, both members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and have also announced a combination with a law firm in Indonesia. Senior partner Salwah Abdul Shukor is a key IP contact in Kuala Lumpur; she also advises on film and media matters, M&As, IPOs and private debt issuance, as well as Shariah family matters, including estate planning.  

As part of the ZICO Law network, Zaid Ibrahim & Co. provides a full range of IP law services encompassing both contentious and non-contentious aspects of IP since 2014. Its IP team has a shining reputation in the field thanks to the leadership of seasoned IP specialist Linda Wang who is experienced in IP litigation and disputes in all IP rights.  

Zul Rafique & Partners provides registration, advisory, litigation, commercial transactions and audits in the IP realm. Darren Kor and Amylia Soraya Aminuddin are key contacts for non-contentious matters; Idza Hajar Ahmad Idzam is the contact for contentious matters. Kor is also a key contact for the firm’s communications and multimedia practice group, which has advised Commerce Dot Com on the provision of e-procurement services, and Syarikat Takaful Malaysia, an Islamic insurance company, on the drafting of a bespoke software agreement.  

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