What is your proudest professional achievement to date?
Moments of pride come to us in many different forms – with every new client that walks in the door, every IP asset obtained and every matter concluded successfully. The two most meaningful achievements for me have been leading a blank canvas IP policy project to build a successful identification and management framework, and overseeing a project from idea through to commercialisation. In this latter issue, we were involved throughout the whole lifecycle, including the use of community knowledge, the development of IP assets, the development and commercialisation of the products, the community involvement and sharing the benefits from the project.
I am also immensely proud of the team that we have built since the company's inception 23 years ago and its successful integration into an international group as DCC Advanz under QANTM Intellectual Property. This is testament to the company’s values and its belief that intellectual property is all about business and that the delivery of a service that focuses on practical advice and valuable insight is beneficial for every client.
How has IP commercialisation evolved over the last 10 years, and what do you think will be the next big developments?
From a Malaysian perspective – where everything used to be in physical, local stores, things have now moved on and now the absence of your product online could make you extinct! IP owners must have their binoculars angled towards both the physical and virtual realms to cut across IP protection, commercialisation and enforcement strategies. While IP commercialisation methods stay the same for now, options will continue to evolve. Large companies may still self-commercialise, but with globalisation and the increasing ease of communication and access, smaller companies may look towards collaborations and cross-selling to boost one another in a symbiotic way. Today, brands and companies often collaborate to launch new products, much to the thrill of consumers.
You work with clients from a diverse array of industries. How do you tailor your approach depending on the type of client that you are dealing with?
It goes back to one of our core foundations: to operate as if we are a part of the client’s business. With new clients, we work on understanding who and what they are and what they want to achieve. It is only then that we can craft suitable IP plans and strategies that can fit in with their business objectives. Our joy is in walking alongside each client as they grow their business – in conversation, it is not about what ‘you’ want to do, it is about what ‘we’ want to do together.
What are some of the more common mistakes the foreign firms make when filing their patents in Malaysia – and how can they avoid them?
First, by not thinking about filing in Malaysia! We are sometimes overlooked in favour of other countries in the region but Malaysia has so much to offer. It is a place of opportunity, with a vibrant multi-faceted economy and a lot of excitement for the future. The IP regime is stable and continues to improve. It is financially reasonable to obtain patent protection in Malaysia, so it should always be considered for filing.
Second, some may not realise that Malaysia has the same options available for accelerating patent grants – such as the expedited PPH and ASPEC programs – as several other Asian countries. This means quicker, more cost-effective patent grants for Malaysia, putting it on a level playing field with its neighbours.
How do you expect the IP transactions space to evolve as more and more industries are affected by technological convergence and the IoT?
The rapid evolution of technological convergence means that companies can no longer rest easy on their laurels and still envisage the same success that they have enjoyed in the past – we are seeing movement into an era of sharing, collaborating and symbiotic relationships. Further, I imagine that IP transactions will need to cross into and consider matters relating to the online and virtual realms where consumers are spending an increasing amount of time – from online marketplaces and the metaverse to social media and its considerations. It goes without saying that AI is one of the biggest topics of today, and this alone has triggered and will continue to trigger changes in the IP and transactions space.
Debbie David is the managing principal of DCC Advanz Malaysia. With close to 20 years’ experience, she has acquired comprehensive knowledge across all aspects of intellectual property. Ms David’s skills lie in identifying and developing IP assets, advising on commercialisation plans, strategies, and the development of IP management frameworks for effective management of assets. She also works with her team to deliver innovative and practical IP solutions.