McDonald Trademarks Property and Divorce Lawyer Johor Bahru

Many people refer to “applying for intellectual property protection” without clearly distinguishing the meaning and content of intellectual property. Intellectual property is divided into trademark rights, patent rights, and copyright.

Different Objective for Protection

Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the three main types:

Trademarks refer to visible signs that merchants use to distinguish their goods or services from others, marked on goods or services.
Copyrights, also known as authors’ rights, refer to the total legal rights and moral rights that an author legally enjoys for their own works.
Patents record the content of inventions and creations. The use of a patented invention or creation requires the permission of the patent holder.

  • Trademarks protect words, graphics, letters, numbers, three-dimensional marks, movements, sounds, smells, color combinations, or slogans marked on goods. The protection period is 10 years.
  • Copyrights protect literary, musical, dramatic, pictorial, sculptural, or photographic works of the author. The protection period is the author’s lifetime plus 50 years after death.
  • Patents protect the invention of a technology, such as Bluetooth technology or infrared technology in mobile phones. The protection period is 20 years.

Trademarks Act 2019: Legal Rights

A registered trademark is extremely important to a business’s reputation and economic benefits. A legally registered trademark has the right to take legal action against infringers.

  • Civil Aspects: The court may gives awards for infringement, destruction of infringing marks or products, injunctions, and recovery of all commercial losses and profits.
  • Criminal Aspects: The infringer may be fined or imprisoned.

Legal Requirements for Trademark Registration

Trademarks Act 2019:
Section 23 Absolute Grounds of Refusal

  • The trademark is not capable of being graphically represented;
  • Specific applications lack details of the protection: for example, registering a color without specifying the Pantone code or registering a sound without submitting musical notes;
  • Lack of distinctiveness;
  • Lack of recognizability;
  • Describes the origin of a product (except for collective and certification marks);
  • Overly descriptive of product characteristics, leading to a lack of distinctiveness, such as using the quantity, quality, purpose, value, or production area of the product directly as the trademark;
  • The trademark is considered customary in the country or its common language.

Additional Grounds Include

  • Causing public confusion;
  • Deception or misleading;
  • Not in the public interest;
  • Offensive or abusive;
  • Violating national security;
  • Using personal names;
  • Using national flags or other national symbols;
  • Using any chemical names.

Trademarks Act 2019:
Section 24 Relative Grounds of Refusal

If a trademark meets basic requirements but there is an identical or similar trademark already applied for in the same or related product category, the Registrar has relative refusal rights.

If the above issues are violated, the Registrar can issue a Provisional Refusal under Trademarks Act 2019, allowing the applicant to variation or explanations.

If still unacceptable, the Registrar will issue a Total Refusal. It is recommended that businesses conduct a Preliminary Advice Search before applying for trademark registration to prevent conflicts with existing trademarks.


If the trademark application is in order, the Registrar will formally publish the trademark according to Section 31 of Trademarks Act 2019.

Trademarks Act 2019:
Section 34 & 35: Opposition

Even after a trademark is successfully published, prior proprietor can file opposition if they believe the published trademark potentially infringe with their already registered trademark, temporarily blocking the publication. Opponents can cite reasons under Trademarks Act 2019 Section 23 & 24 for their opposition, leading to the Registrar’s judgment.

Opponents can also appeal the Registrar’s decision to the court.

By understanding these key points, you can better navigate the complex world of intellectual property and ensure your brand, creations, and innovations are well protected.

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