Monday, October 24, 2011

A fishy patent claim in Malaysia, to which Indonesia objects

A dispute over fish is raising IP eyebrows. The golden arowana  or dragon fish famed for bringing luck to owners in Asia is found in both Malaysia and Indonesia. But Malaysia has suggested it will try to patent the Malaysian Golden arowana species and register Malaysian Golden as a trademark. This has raised protests in Indonesia which is a huge producer of the fish and has at least 4 domestic varieties including the Super Red arowana, one of which the Indonesian President even owns. The problem is both countries claim the fish originates in their countries. Indonesia suggests the Malaysian Golden is a cross-breed from an Indonesian species. The Malaysian Department of Fisheries however says otherwise and is working with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to develop a standard for the Malaysian Golden.

IP Komodo believes the patent threat is mere puffery, as its surely wouldn’t meet patentability standards. But wrapping layers of IP (even some spurious layers) around any product is a tried and tested way to boost marketability and in turn value in a product. Indonesia has on occasions tried to do the same thing with Batik and Kintamani coffee. There is however always rivalry between the two neighbours, especially in IP. But Indonesia does need to up its game at innovation and IP protection to avoid being caught like a fish out of water...

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