Malaysia: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement's chapter on Intellectual Property

In brief

After almost a decade of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement was signed on 15 November 2020 by 10 ASEAN member states, along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

The RCEP is the largest regional free trade agreement outside the WTO, and its member states account for approximately 30% of the world's gross domestic product (USD 26.3 trillion) and 30% of the world's population (2.3 billion). Its overarching aim is to establish a modern, comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership that brings together countries with diverse levels of development, fuels regional value chains and promotes international trade and investment.

The agreement comprises 20 chapters with specific provisions covering, amongst other things, intellectual property, trade in goods, trade in services, investment, competition and e-commerce. In this Client Alert, we set out the key highlights of the intellectual property chapter of the RCEP Agreement.


We summarise the key provisions of the intellectual property chapter of the RCEP Agreement below:

  • Each Party to the RCEP Agreement has agreed to ratify or accede to several key multilateral agreements which relate to the protection of intellectual property rights, including (i) the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (which protects copyright), (ii) the Patent Cooperation Treaty (which protects patents), and (iii) the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (which protects trade marks). Malaysia has ratified or acceded to all such agreements save for the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.
  • Subject to certain exceptions, each Party must generally accord to the nationals of other Parties at least the same treatment that it accords to its own nationals for the protection of IP.
  • Minimum requirements for the protection, registration and enforcement of copyright, trade marks, geographical indications, patents, industrial designs, unfair competition, domain names and confidential information are set out in the RCEP Agreement, which Malaysia's current legal regime is generally aligned with.
  • The RCEP Agreement also highlights a need to foster greater dialogue between member states and encourages cooperation on border measures with a view to eliminating international trade in pirated and counterfeit goods.
  • Finally, there is an emphasis on ensuring enforcement procedures should be available to the same extent with respect to acts of IP infringement in the digital environment.

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This client alert was issued by Wong & Partners, a member firm of Baker McKenzie International, a global law firm with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a "partner" means a person who is a partner or equivalent in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an "office" means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as "Attorney Advertising" requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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