Fortify intellectual property rights policies, govt urged

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to play a more robust role in the knowledge economy as it is expected be a key driver of global economic growth.

One way it can do this is through strengthening the role of universities by supporting incubators and increasing the permeability between universities and the private sector, according to recommendations from a roundtable discussion on the knowledge economy.

Another is by creating a regulatory framework that encourages experimentation and favours innovation.

The roundtable discussion entitled “Malaysia’s path to a knowledge economy – lessons from home and abroad” was organised by think tank IDEAS and attended by key officials, lawyers, academics and researchers.

The group agreed that the knowledge economy required innovation and a robust framework for intellectual property (IP) rights as a part of its ecosystem.

They said strengthening IP rights would create more innovators, increase the GDP per capita and encourage foreign direct investment.

IDEAS said in a statement today that researchers in the US had shown that for every one-unit increase in patent rights, per capita income increased by US$780.

In commending Malaysia for the strengths of its innovation IP regime, including establishing the Malaysia Innovation Agency, the group encouraged the Malaysian government to adopt further reforms to promote the knowledge economy.

Their other recommendations to the government include:

  • Supporting SMEs with innovation training to help close the productivity gap between smaller and larger firms;
  • Placing innovation at the centre of the strategic plan for all government agencies;
  • Providing rewards and incentives for collaboration between innovators and local industry; and
  • Ensuring the education system produces high-skilled workers in scientific fields.

Commenting on the roundtable discussions, Ali Salman, acting CEO of IDEAS, said: “IP plays a crucial role in promoting innovation in the marketplace. Besides, IP plays a major role in enhancing the competitiveness of IP-concentrated industries.

“The knowledge economy will be the key driver of global, sustainable and equitable growth. To get there, strategic fiscal incentives by the government are important. Policymakers, academicians, industry players, lawyers, and relevant stakeholders need to work very closely to fortify Malaysia’s intellectual property rights policies and enforcement.”