Q: Can you tell us about your team (eg, size, practice focuses and key individuals)?
A: This year, the firm will celebrate its 10th anniversary with its 25 team members. We have a strong base of domestic clients from both the public and private sectors and over the past five years our international clientele has expanded from entities in East Asian countries (China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) to include those in the United States and Europe.
Some of our key personnel include founder and CEO Tee Lin Yik; Lim Hui Lee, head of patents; chief operating officer (trademarks, designs and copyright) Wun Tien Haw; Sueann Tan Sue Yinn (business development and marketing) and Nurul Rabiatul Aziz (accounting and human resources).
We focus on patent, trademark and design prosecution and provide IP valuation services, assist pre-litigation matters and conduct raids with enforcement officers; we also train candidates for the Malaysia patent agent examination.
Q: What were the highlights of 2019?
A: Winning this award and being listed in the IAM Patent 1000 as leading patent professionals. Further, MyIPO ranked our company as one of the top five patent and trademark filers in Malaysia.
Our CEO Tee Lin Yik won the Male Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2019, with only five winners per year across all industries in Malaysia, and the company won the SOBA Best Employer award. Further, we collaborated with KDU (a Malaysian public listed company) to conduct training for IP professionals – we are pioneers in our industry in offering courses to those wishing to become Malaysian patent agents.
Finally, our net profit grew fourfold from 2018 to 2019 and our revenue grew by 15%.
Tee Lin Yik, founder and CEO
Q: What do you tell new recruits and potential new clients about how your firm stands out from the crowd?
A: No other IP company in Malaysia has as secure a hold in both domestic and international markets as we do. Tee IP has an excellent base of domestic clients in the private and public sector, which range from government universities and institutions, as well as start-ups, small and medium-sized entities and Fortune 500 global companies, while our international clients have steadily increased in the last five years. We are working hard to conquer both international and domestic markets. At the same time, we maintain the support of our existing clients by delivering consistent and optimum-quality work. The firm is raising public awareness of the importance of intellectual property by conducting training with accredited educational institutions.
Winning Malaysia IP Agency of the Year award is official recognition of our high-quality service and effort over the past 10 years.
Q: How are client demands changing and what impact has this had on your practice?
A: Most clients demand simplicity, affordability and professional services from us. This has helped us to shape our business model and to become a one-stop boutique IP firm. At the same time, we distinguish our brand through our work and experience. Our excellent track record over the past decade is testimony to this.
Q: Your firm is still quite young – what has been key to your growth?
A: Our firm has three key values, to which we hold strongly. The first is passion, which is closely intertwined with discipline – the former will get us started but the latter will keep us growing. The second fundamental trait is professionalism. We strive to ensure optimum and consistent quality of work and services to our new and existing clients – this is the crux of being a service provider. And lastly, humility. We believe that the ability to stay humble and our continued willingness to listen and change for the better is our most noble characteristic.
Q: Which sectors or industries are particularly hot for you right now?
A: Tech start-ups and IT-based companies.
Q: How has technology affected your practice?
A: Technology has made everything faster and more convenient; it is now easier than ever to reach our target market as there are myriad online platforms on which to share information. We foresee that technology will have an impact on the way in which IP prosecution transactions are carried out depending on the target audience’s knowledge and awareness, as well as their level of comfort with digital commerce.
Q: If you could make one change to the IP world what would it be?
A: Procedures at the Malaysia Patent and Trademark Office should be simplified. This would result in quicker examination time, which would make clearer the legal risks in global business transactions.
Q: What advice would you give to younger practitioners looking to pursue a career in intellectual property?
A: More often than not, the industry is criticised for being unscalable. This has become a stigma – people are told that they would be better off working in a factory or IT department. We hope to become an inspiration and a living testimony for young IP practitioners and prove that a service-based company has the opportunity to scale up – if you are talented and willing to work hard, the sky is the limit!
Q: How do you expect the Malaysian IP market to change over the next five years?
A: M&A between IP firms must be made more sustainable. Finally, we trust that IP filings will continue to grow.