Guardian Of Original Ideas and Products

Need to protect your ideas and inventions? Call the patent agent, writes HARIATI AZIZAN.
Jan. 29, 2007 - PRLog -- EVERYONE knows the three straps on the t-shirt or the sports shoes but have you ever wondered why only Adidas has a claim to that trademark logo?

That is what patent agents or trademark agents do, explains Lok Choon Hong, “We help companies and individuals protect their brand in the form of trademark, ideas and inventions.”

This is done by writing out a patent or official document to give them the right to make, use or sell their idea, brand or inventions and prevent others from doing so.
These ideas and inventions, called intellectual property (IP) have to be protected not only in their countries of origin but also all around the world.

Called a patent attorney or trademark attorney in some countries, it may be a relatively new profession in Malaysia but in certain developed countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, it is more than a century old.

Explains patent agent Lok Choon Hong: ”In Malaysia it is a new area because traditionally we are not creators of any intellectual property (IP), we are only IP users.

Lok, 36, says he chose IP because it is the currency of a knowledge-based economy and with Malaysia moving in that direction, he sees great potential in this field.

Some people take advantage of trademarks, hence piracy and counterfeiting is prevalent, he adds.

“But if the law is in place, new designs are protected, and this encourages innovation and creativity.

“Patenting creates a legal barrier preventing people from hijacking your idea and it gives people a legal redress to protect their idea or creation.”

Translating an idea or invention into words is not easy as it has to be described correctly for the patent to be drafted accurately, hence, proficiency in English is an important requirement for patent agents.

“We need to differentiate products,” he notes.

That draft, in turn, has to meet the international standard.

According to Lok, the standard has evolved over the years and there has been an international effort to harmonise it.

And if you think there is nothing left to invent or no new ideas to conceive, think again.

“Looking at the progress of science and technology. I don’t think we will run out of ideas.

“Look at the problems in the world now that we haven’t found solutions for yet. When we file a patent we are finding a new solution to old problems,” say Lok,

My job involves?

. . . drafting a patent for clients’ inventions, ideas and trademark but we don’t stop at patenting. We also provide consultancy on developing the idea or product as well promoting it. Commercialisation is a challenge.

Sometimes we meet with other lawyers and continue with the paperwork required for the patents that we have filed. We also meet clients to discuss their invention or IP.

In Malaysia, you need to sit for the Registered Patent Agent examination to be a patent agent.

A good command of written and spoken English is important as you need to translate an idea or invention into words in the patent draft.

A clear and organised mind is needed to understand and present the technology clearly.

At the same time, you need a broad base of knowledge in science, business, and technology.

In our company there are many patent agents from an engineering background.

You also need someone who can sit and focus for hours on end as you need to analyse an invention and think of the different strategies to make it counterfeit-proof.

It also has to be someone who likes to learn about new things because you need to have an open mind and have a wide knowledge of diverse things.

Interest is important, too, because sometimes the invention or idea can come out of an area that you know nothing about – then you will need to do some research and keep up with new trends.

More importantly, it has to be someone who can compete internationally because you have to deal with the international market. It is also more relevant now that we are involved in a knowledge economy.

There is a high demand in multinational companies.

As it is an international field, it enables you to be an international person because you need to prepare drafts for all parts of the world.


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