The Future Of Innovation Is Inspired By The Intellectual Property System

Ms Farha Abdol Ghapar

The future of innovation in Malaysia has still a long way to go. Nevertheless, as one of the emerging economies, Malaysia is catching up pretty fast in terms of economic growth in the era of technology and innovation. Moving from post colonial status to primary product exporter into an industrially oriented economy, Malaysia has a large amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country with large amount of partial diversification of manufactured foreign products to be exported to other parts of the world. This situation has helped spur Malaysia’s economic performance.

Despite of its tremendous economic performance, Malaysia is still seen as being dependent on foreign country’s technological capability. In its latest 9th Malaysia Plan, it is reported that even though there is an increasing trend in the science and technology (S&T) indicator output in terms of patent filed and granted by its own residents, the number is still far low when comparing it with the non-residents. One of many reasons this might occur is due to high manufacturing foreign products into Malaysia which the foreigners might want to secure its intellectual property (IP). Another S&T indicator that is the royalty payments, are also seen far much higher than its receipts, MYR5851 million payments compared to MYR98 million receipts in 2005. This shows that Malaysia is still very much dependent on foreign technological capability.

Even though some might argue that some innovation has never been patented, patent has been traditionally seen as one of the technological output that can churn monetary returns. Back in 1878, Thomas Edison who holds 1,093 patent counts more than any other inventor in history, and whom found the Edison Electric Light Company, that is General Electric’s predecessor, said that, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success”. While some still argue that patenting activities would not bring much benefits to the inventor especially in emerging economies, then the question is why the patent applications mountains in each and every patent office in every region around the world?

I believe that Malaysia as an emerging economies shouldn’t have to be too dependent on foreign technological capability as it matures. Malaysian must realize its time to wake up and be a quick learner. Malaysian must take the advantage of the FDI that is pouring into the country and learn from their technological capabilities. It is timely for Malaysia to shift its course from becoming the leading manufacturers of foreign products, to innovating its own indigenous technology and grab the golden opportunity of the patenting system. The IP is a powerful tool which not only protects the new innovation but also creates more business opportunities in its own country and other countries as well. Malaysians must catch up with the knowledge of the IP system so that there is a bright future of innovation in Malaysia.

Article © 2009 Ms Farha Abdol Ghapar. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Ms Farha Abdol Ghapar

Ms Farha Abdol Ghapar

affiliation:   Mara University Of Technology

position:  Lecturer

country:  Malaysia

area of interest:  Intellectual Property

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