More research needed on trade of counterfeit goods

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 19, 2018.
More research needed on trade of counterfeit goods
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KUALA LUMPUR: More research needs to be conducted on the illicit trade of counterfeit goods in Malaysia to aid policy and enforcement on the issue, according to the International Trademark Association (Inta).

Inta chief representative for Asia-Pacific Seth Hays said US$1.3 trillion counterfeited goods are traded globally every year, adding that about US$2.81 trillion worth of counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated to be traded in 2022.

He said the Malaysian government should also encourage local companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to unlock the value of their intellectual properties (IPs) through branding and enhancing the IP regulatory framework.

“We believe that public awareness is probably the most effective means of getting the local SMEs and entrepreneurs to focus on branding and to focus on intellectual property rights,” Hays told reporters yesterday after a seminar on "Intellectual Property Rights in the Asean Economic Community Challenges and Potentials", which was hosted by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs.

Beyond public awareness, Hays noted that head of companies have to be aware of the value of brands and trademarks.

He opined that most companies are still unaware of the importance of the value of IPs.

Moreover, Hays explained that the trademark-intensive industry contributes significantly to Malaysia’s economic growth. Citing Frontier Economics, he noted that trademark-intensive industry has direct contribution to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) of about 30% per year, while indirect contribution is at 60% per year to Malaysia’s GDP.

Also, trademark-intensive industry contributes about 24% of employment in Malaysia and takes up about 55% of share of the country’s exports, he added.

Malaysia’s rank dropped from 26th to 32nd out of 127 countries in the 2017 Intellectual Property Rights Index, placing it second in Asean behind Singapore which dropped from sixth to seventh.