Exploring patent information from the ASEAN region

Focus Malaysia 

Welcome to the third part in our little series on patent information from the ASEAN region which will take you to Malaysia. According to a report from World Bank, Malaysia is one of the most open economies in the world and achieved a sustainable growth over the last decades. It is expected to raise in status from an “upper middle income economy” to a “high income economy” within the near future. 

Evolution of the national IP system and recent patent law revision  

Even though Malaysia gained independence from Britain already in 1957, its IP system remained for a long time closely linked to the former colonial power: until the Mid-80s, applicants could obtain protection by extending a granted UK patent (or a EP patent designating Britain) to Malaysia in a simple re-registration system. 

In 1983, Malaysia adopted its first independent patent system which was amended several times between 1995 and 2011. After a long break, a further major revision was implemented one year ago in March 2022. It introduced a number of features which are also very relevant for patent information searchers: 

  • Formal publication of patent applications after 18 months from filing or priority. Before, patents had been published only after grant. 
  • Possibility for third parties to submit observations within three months from the publication of the application. 
  • Post-grant opposition system: possibility for third parties to challenge a granted right by filing an opposition request within a prescribed period. 

Patents and utility models 

Similar to most ASEAN countries, Malaysia offers both patents and utility models. The term for patents is 20 years from filing date and for utility models 10 years from filing. However, the applicant can extend the term of a utility model upon request two times for five years each which would result in a maximum term of 20 years similar to patents. 

Both IP types are subject to a substantive examination. However, utility models do not require an inventive step and may contain one claim only.  

Malaysia does not offer any type of term extension for patents in the pharmaceutical field or term adjustments for delays in the granting procedure.  

Filing trends 

During the last decade, the Malaysian IP Authority (Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia, MyIPO) received between 6500 and 7500 applications per year. Similar to other ASEAN countries, most applications are filed by foreigners (around 85%) and are therefore mostly based on a previous filing abroad.   

Utility models do not play a major role for the national IP system and have remained on a low level of 150-200 applications per year over the last decade. (Source: WIPO IP Statistics Data Center) 

Grant procedure – main steps and time limits 

Publication of the application: 

18 months from filing date or, if applicable, priority date (both patents and utility models) 

Third-party observations 

Within three months from publication of application (both patents and utility models). 

Examination request 

Within 18 months from filing date (both patents and utility models). In case of modified examination (see below): deferment of examination request to five years from filing possible, if search and examination reports from other offices not yet available. 

Substantive examination 

Two types of substantive examination: 

  • Regular examination 
  • Modified examination: based on search and examination reports of corresponding application which was granted in one of the following jurisdictions: Japan, Korea, Australia, United Kingdom, USA or at the EPO. Accelerated procedure (no examination for inventive step). 

Reacting to preliminary refusal 

Applicant must react to examiner’s report within 2 months by submitting amendments or statements of opinion. 

Reacting to final refusal 

Appeal to High Court possible. 

Renewal fees 

First annual fee due one year after grant on first anniversary of grant day; further annual fees due on following anniversaries of grant day. 

Possibilities to challenge granted right: 

Two options: 

  • Request for opposition (by interested party, newly introduced in March 2022, no period specified yet) 
  • Request for invalidation (by interested party only, at any time) 

Malaysian kind codes and number formats 

The number formats of Malaysian documents are as follows: 

Application numbers: PI/UIyyyynnnnnn   
(PI = Patent filing, UI = utility model filing, y = year, n = serial number) 

Grant numbers: MY-nnnnnn-A 
(MY = country code for Malaysia, n = serial number, A = kind code).  

Different from most other jurisdictions, kind code “A” is used not for applications, but for the publication of the granted right. 

The newly introduced publication of the application after 18 months from filing/priority (“18 months’ publication”) is published without a kind code and with the application number only (no separate publication number).  

Accessing publications from Malaysia 

You can access data on granted Malaysian patents in the EPO’s search tools such as Espacenet. The data includes bibliographic information and English abstracts, and the coverage dates back to the 1950s. 

Espacenet does not yet include data on the new 18-months’ publications. However, these are available in MyIPO’s Official Journal (MyIPO, see Fig. 2). 

Malaysian data in Espacenet

Fig. 1: Malaysian data in Espacenet. 

example of publication of application in MyIPO’s IP Official Journal

Fig. 2: 18 months’ publications in MyIPO’s IP Official Journal

We hope this information was of help to you get a general overview on patent information from Malaysia. For any inquiries on the subject, get in touch with the EPO’s Worldwide IP team at

Further information

World Bank’s Information on MalaysiaMyIPO’s Online servicesWIPO IP Statistics Data Center

Keywords: Malaysia, MyIPO, ASEAN, patent law revision, number format