28 April 2022

Malaysia’s new Geographical Indications Act (“GI Act”) came into force on 18 March 2022.

The GI Act repeals and replaces the Geographical Indications Act 2000 and provides for the protection and registration of geographical indications in relation to goods, and for the implementation of relevant treaties and related matters.

The key provisions of the GI Act are as follows:

  • Section 10(1) provides that the Registrar shall refuse to register a geographical indication if:
    • the geographical indication does not correspond to the meaning of “geographical indication” as defined in section 2, i.e. an indication which may contain one or more words which identifies any goods as originating in a country or territory, or a region or locality in that country or territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the goods is essentially attributable to their geographical origin;
    • the geographical indication identifies goods that do not fall within any of the categories of goods as determined by the Registrar;
    • the geographical indication consists exclusively of an indication which is identical with the term customary in the common language as the common name of any goods in Malaysia if registration is sought in relation to the goods;
    • the geographical indication is contrary to public order or morality;
    • the geographical indication is not or has ceased to be protected in its country or territory of origin;
    • the goods does not originate from the country, region or locality indicated in the application for the registration of geographical indication; or
    • the geographical indication in relation to the goods is of such a nature which may mislead the public as to the true place of origin of the goods.
  • The GI Act also confers rights to a registered proprietor of a geographical indication where the registered proprietor has the right to use the geographical indication and authorises other persons to use the geographical indication.
  • Under the GI Act, the following acts would constitute an offence:
    • falsely applying a registered geographical indication to any goods;
    • importing and selling any goods with falsely applied geographical indication;
    • submitting false information to the Geographical Indications Office or making false entries in the Register;
    • falsely representing a geographical indication as a registered geographical indication and falsely representing the goods for which a geographical indication is registered; or
    • disobedience to any summons to appear as a witness or a request made by the Registrar to produce any document or article.