America And Malaysia Unite Against IP Theft

The threat of intellectual property theft is an international phenomenon that must be tackled through multilateral cooperation between states. For decades, protecting intellectual property rights has been a fundamental foreign policy goal for the United States, a policy that covers both foreign and local businesses. This new pilot program between Malaysia and the United States marks potential cooperation between nations in halting Intellectual Property violations.

The new pilot program goes by the name of “Patent Prosecution Highway,” which seeks to align the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) in patent application between the organizations. This level of integration between USPTO and MyIPO will allow the streamlining of patent protections between the two countries.

This pilot program has already begun, starting on March 2nd, 2023, with those “who meet the requirements can now request for an accelerated examination of their Malaysian application following the prescribed procedures.” In doing so, American and Malaysian-based businesses receiving those expatriated patent approvals will receive protection from potential IP thefts.

The Patent Prosecution Highway program is not developed in a void but out of the necessity for the strong economic ties between the United States and Malaysia. As of 2021, the bilateral trade value of $71.4 billion is between both countries, with the US being Malaysia’s third largest trading partner behind China and Singapore. American investment is also one of the largest in Malaysia. The United States is “one of the largest holders of foreign investment stock in Malaysia,” with “direct investment by American businesses into Malaysia was $13.5 billion in 2020.” This is just another step towards closer cooperation between the United States and Malaysia.

If this pilot program is successful, it will represent a fantastic new multilateral policy forward for countries and companies to cooperate in fighting against international Intellectual Property thefts. The United States companies lose an estimated $600 billion annually through intellectual property theft, with most cases occurring in Asia. The Malaysian and American business environments will prosper as the two government agencies work to streamline patents and, ergo, IP protections are ensured.