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Bridging Skills And Knowledge To Serve Industry Needs

Last update: 18/05/2010
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MAKING IDEAS WORK...MSC Malaysia IP Connect enables MSC Malaysia Status Companies to transform creativity into technical innovations and applications that improve and enhance the production pipeline, and ultimately increase Malaysia's international competitiveness, MDeC CEO, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali says.Pic: Mohd Azhar Ibrahim
By Mohd Azhar Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 (Bernama) -- Competitive advantage comes from collaboration. Every technical innovation created either by the universities or research institutes has the potential to be transformed into a viable and economically profitable commercial undertaking.

In today's world of 'open innovation', success await those firms that leverage on the discoveries and innovations of scientists and researchers to flourish the creation of cutting edge commercial applications, products and devices.

Both groups benefit from such collaboration. Researchers earn revenue by monetising their intellectual property (IP) while Companies develop commercial opportunities by creating cutting-edge high-quality products and services derived from the IP.

Together, they can create more value than they ever could by doing it alone. Economic advancement thus, to a large extent, depends on how the nation manages to create the demand for products and services generated from the IP created in the country.

To raise the country's capacity for knowledge, creativity and innovation, the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) has even recommended that the successful commercialisation of research projects be incorporated as an element in the Key Performance Index (KPI) for local public universities.

BRIDGING THE GAP

In line with the clarion call to facilitate the successful and rapid commercialisation of local intellectual property as one of the eight strategic reform initiatives outlined in the framework for the New Economic Model (NEM), the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) recently launched its MSC Malaysia IP Connect Programme, to bring together local universities and research institutions to effectively collaborate with innovators from MSC Malaysia Status Companies.

MSC Malaysia IP Connect is an MDeC initiative to promote the monetisation of IPs created local institutions of higher learning (IHL) and research institutions (RI) by providing opportunities for MSC Malaysia Status Companies to obtain the rights to exploit and transform these IPs into innovative commercial applications.

"The MSC Malaysia IP Connect programme provides MSC Malaysia Status Companies the opportunity to transform intellectual property created by local universities and research institutions into innovative ideas and technologies to boost productivity, and ultimately increase Malaysia's international competitiveness," MDeC Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali told Bernama.

Traditionally, companies rely on their internal resources to invent, develop and deliver new products and services to the market. However, MSC Malaysia IP Connect enables them to shop for on-the-shelf technical innovations and incorporate these into the product development process.

"It allows MSC Malaysia Status Companies to access and assess technical know-how and translate these into applications that improve and enhance the production pipeline," Badlisham added.

COMMERCIALISATION AND MAXIMUM EXPLOITATION OF IP

The value of an intellectual property is maximised when it is exploited in as many ways as possible.

IP rights can be assigned, licensed or exploited strategically under an equity-holding or joint-venture arrangement with a third party to exploit that exclusivity in return for a royalty.

Any party wishing to commercialise its IP should weigh all the options available and analyse potential weaknesses, strength and appropriateness of each strategy. All available avenues for exploitation should be considered, including the option of spin-out formation.

Partners should have a formal agreement on ownership, access rights, royalties, and responsibility to exploit before they sign on the dotted line. The proprietor of those rights can realise value from them by making and selling products or providing services in that market sector under the shield of the IP protection.

"The preferred arrangements for exploiting the IP arising from the research done by the IHLs and RIs are that the partner best positioned and most able to pursue commercial exploitation will have sufficient access to the IP to enable full and successful exploitation," Badlisham said.

At the MSC Malaysia IP Connect programme, institutions such as MIMOS Bhd, Malaysia Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) and the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) pitched and shared details of more than 100 filed patents and prototypes, with MSC Malaysia Status Companies.

The primary aim of the exposure is to ensure that the IPs belonging to these institutions are fully exploited for commercial gain by interested MSC Malaysia Status Companies, thus generating income for both the IP owners and licensees.

Additionally, the commercial application of IP appreciated by the market can have a very positive impact on the reputation of the university or research institution concerned.

SPEARHEADING TRANSFORMATION

The key components of a strong IP infrastructure are the agencies and institutions that nurture R&D and artistic talents, funding and financial incentives to encourage creative activities, and programme to promote a mindset of creativity and enterprise.

Entrusted with the responsibility of facilitating, developing and promoting the MSC Malaysia initiative, MDeC has since 2004, rolled out various programmes and IP related activities for MSC Malaysia Status Companies and other ICT companies; aimed at catalysing the development and growth of IP in line with the government's aspiration for the country to move up the value chain to an innovation-based economy.

These include the MSC Malaysia Research & Development Grant Scheme (MGS), MSC Malaysia Capability Development Programme (CDP), and the MSC Malaysia Researcher-Industry Attachment Programme; all of which form part of MSC Malaysia Capability Development Programme IP (CDP IP) initiatives.

To-date, more than 1600 companies have benefited from these programmes.

CREATING WORLD-CLASS ICT COMPANIES

MDeC works closely with various parties and government agencies to provide the ideal growth environment for MSC Malaysia Status Companies to harness the full potential of ICT and multimedia technologies to transform themselves into world-class ICT Companies.

As of September 2009, there are 2,436 MSC Malaysia Status Companies which altogether provide a total of 92,201 jobs, and have generated more than RM21.75 billion in revenue.

While the MSC Malaysia initiative provides the ideal growth environment for Malaysian ICT SMEs to transform themselves into world-class ICT Companies, the MDeC is the driving force that is spearheading this transformation.

Given the positive post event feedback received from the more than 40 MSC Malaysia Status Companies and Research Institutions that participated in the MSC Malaysia IP Connect pilot session, MDeC will be expanding the programme to the northern regions to cater for other public institutions of higher learning.

-- BERNAMA