On 16 May 2006, Malaysia deposited the instrument of accession to the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) to become the 131st contracting state. The provisions of the Treaty will become fully effective in Malaysia on 16 August 2006. What this means is that, come 16 August 2006, it will be possible to obtain patent protection in Malaysia via the PCT filing route.
The PCT filing route provides a convenient and cost effective way for patent applicants to pursue patent protection simultaneously in countries which are members of the Treaty (132 members as of 19 June 2006). Amongst other advantages, an important advantage is that the applicant reserves rights to obtain patent protection in all the PCT contracting states by paying a single fee rather than separate filing fees in each of the designated countries. While the national fees in the different designated countries will need to be paid when the application enters national phase, the fact that the payment of these filing fees is deferred is a substantial advantage to the applicant. During the period payment of national filing fees is deferred, the applicant gains valuable opportunity to assess suitable markets for the invention as well as the likely commercial success of the invention.