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USTR Published its 2018 Special 301 Report

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has published its annual Special 301 Report. In the 2018 Report, it was indicated that the USTR will soon conduct an "Out-of-Cycle Review" to assess the extent to which Malaysia is providing adequate and effective intellectual property protection and enforcement in Malaysia, including with respect to patents. According to the 2018 Report, an Out-of-Cycle Review "is a tool that USTR uses to encourage progress on IP issues of concern. Out-of-Cycle Reviews provide an opportunity to address and remedy such issues through heightened engagement and cooperation with trading partners and other stakeholders. Out-ofCycle Reviews focus on identified IP challenges in specific trading partner markets".


The 2018 Report findings/comments in relation to Malaysia are summarised as follows:

  1. Malaysia has "slow" trade mark opposition proceedings.

  2. USTR has been engaging with Malaysia to address concerns relating to IP protection and enforcement and market access barriers with respect to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. This stems out of compulsory licensing provisions that are enforceable in Malaysia.

  3. The 2018 Report highlighted the Special Internet Forensics Unit within Malaysia's Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) as an illustration of best practices in relation to intellectual property protection and enforcement.