Malaysian marketers told to stop stealing ownership of ideas


The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) has spoken out that an alarming number of marketing communications clients in Malaysia have been conducting requests for proposals (RFPs) while demanding the ownership of intellectual property in terms of ideas, plans and work product described in the proposals regardless of which agency wins the pitch.

This includes ideas, plans and work product described in the proposals regardless of which agency wins the pitch. The 4As said in a statement that this is “tantamount” to clients demanding ideas without compensation and considers the practice “unethical and unfair” and calls for the practice to “cease immediately”.

The 4As stand for agencies asked to give away intellectual property rights to strategy and ideas they present in new-business pitches, is to simply say “No”.

“We are especially concerned that this practice seems to have taken hold even at companies that claim to adhere to the highest business standards of fairness, integrity and conduct. This demand for free ideas flies in the face of their claims, and contradicts core business principles and global norms of business dealings. We have repeated our advice to agencies not to participate in any RFPs which contain this condition. The 4As recommends that agencies retain ownership of all ideas, plans and work product unless the client is prepared to pay the agency fairly for the rights,” said Khairudin Rahim, CEO of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As).

“We would further urge CEOs and other leaders of Malaysian companies and organisations to strip these clauses from their procurement documents, to eliminate this unfair practice once and for all. If marketers wish to retain the ideas that are generated during the RFP process, there are various options available to fairly recompense the agencies for these, which the 4As would be delighted to share with them.

The 4As has developed a best practice guide relating to ownership of agency developed ideas, plans and work created for an RFP. This has been issued to all member advertising agencies and is also available on the 4As website.

Document: Ownership of Agency Ideas, Plans and Work Developed During the New Business Pitch