Q & A

Any related queries you’d like answered? email to us at editor@myBatik.org.my

I’m a student from Cultural Study and recently I have been given an assignment on the Batik Industry. In fact, I’m quite unfamiliar with Batik.  Can you please tell me about any famous Batik Artists and their history?

Answered by Madam Zuraidah, kraftangan

Dear Student,

Batik is a work of art on cloth fabric created by using the resist method- be it wax, flour, mud, soy wax, tie dye, silk screen or various combination of resist techniques.

You may do your research on the internet or at the National Library. Also information on well known Batik Artists may be researched at the National Art Gallery.

Some well known Batik Artist of Malaysia are Mr. Sam Karuna in Penang, Fatimah Chik of Kuala Lumpur, Roshadah Yusof at ATMA ALAM Langkawi. Please go to http://www.fine-art-batik.com/artist.htm

My friend from San Francisco is a Batik lover and she would like to have a Batik Wedding Party. She would like to give out batik to all her guests and ask them to wear it at her Batik wedding party. Therefore she has asked me  to send over a large amount of batik to her. Any laws and regulations  that I should take note of ?

 

Answered by Madam Zuraidah, kraftangan

Wow!- what a great thought and idea to promote Malaysian Batik Internationally in San Francisco at a wedding party. To send Batik in large quantities to America, even if it is a gift, one needs to fill up a Custom Declaration FORM 3299.

You need to pay duties on the products. However we were informed that it depends on the customs at the point of entry. Best to check with courier services or Post Malaysia.

I’ve just read myBatik magazine and it triggers my interest. I just wonder how many types of Batik there are and what kind of techniques are used to make Batik?

Answered by Madam Zuraidah, kraftangan

The Batik Industry in Malaysia has evolved over the years from :

  1. Batik Terap ( Block )

The use of wooden carved motif of flora and fauna on wood blocks in the early years. The use of zinc, steel and brass as a tool to make batik pattern using wax as a resist, resulted in upgrading the final finished product as they are finer and more refined since their introduction in 1921 in Kelantan by Haji Che Su Ibrahim.

  1. Batik Skrin ( Screen Printing )

The use of stencils was introduced in 1939 in Kelantan by Mohammad Yusof Bin Hj. Che’ Su and Mohammad Daud Bin Hj. Che’ Su.

  1. Batik Lukis ( Hand Drawn )

Also known as Batik Canting where the hot wax is used in a pen-like tool of brass to draw the chosen, motif or pattern.

Among Types of Techniques used :

1. Overlapping Technique ( Teknik Tindanan ) where layers and layers of waxing, and paintings are applied to get the required effect.

2. Air Brush Technique in Batik requires the combination of different processes as well as wax. Technically in the coloring stage, an air brush is used with a compressor for large quantities of cloth. However in Art Batik, a spray gun and air brushes are used.

3. Crack Technique ( Tenik Retak ) is a process where wax is applied to the fabric according to the desired design and is then cracked so as to ensure that the dyestuff will seep though to the material.

4. Tie and Dye Technique ( Teknik Ikat dan Celup ) is a process of placing  different types of objects, like rice, into the fabric then tying it with rubber bands, raffia, wires, or roots. Wax is normally used to get a better and more unique tie dye effect.

5. Silica Technique is a technique developed to give an effect of rays and glow to the design of the Batik fabric.

6. Discharge dyeing, also know as reverse tie dyeing, is when you use a dye remover to remove colour from fabric (instead of adding dye to fabric). The technique works with all colours, but is definitely the most dramatic the darker a colored fabric you start with. Cloth, once a resist has been applied, can then be dyed new colours.

There are about 11 types of Batik techniques practiced and recorded since 2009. More information maybe sourced from Institut Kraf Negara, Rawang Selangor. Tel : 03-60915322

I just bought a Batik Silk, how should I take care of it- especially when I wash it?

Answered by Madam Zuraidah, kraftangan

Your Batik Silk is best dry cleaned  in order to keep its sheen and luster. After the first usage, you may hand wash it. However you should only use a mild detergent for a fabric wash and do not soak as it may bleed. Dip it in a pail of water with a mild detergent. Rinse 3 times. You may get excess residue of the dyes even after a few washes depending on the type of dyestuff used. Dry in a shaded area and iron while slightly damp. Commercial Batik detergents are also available at known craft outlets in Kuala Lumpur and in the East Coast States.

I am a lecturer that teaches art in London and I would like to take my students to Malaysia to explore Batik during summer break. May I know where is the best place for us to visit so that my students and I will have a clear view of Malaysian Batik culture and production?

Answered by Madam Zuraidah, kraftangan

The home of Batik is of course Kelantan and Terengganu in the East Coast State of West Malaysia. In Kuala Terengganu you may contact Noor Arfah Craft Complex Email : batik@noor-arfa.com.  If in Kuala Lumpur and if time is limited, you may go to the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation www.kraftangan.gov.my known as Complex Craft Jalan Conlay where the craft of Batik painting is taught for a small fee. You may also go to TMS ART CENTRE email : tmsart@tmsart.com.my

 

 

I have been in the Batik industry for many years and have done some extensive research on coloring and wax and gum resist and have developed a formula of a certain mixture of resist that I would like to claim as my own. How should I proceed and what steps I should take to copyright my formula?

Answered by Kass InternationalCopyright is not the right protection because it does not protect formula, but instead, it protects the creative works of artists, painters and the like. In your industry, batik print motifs and designs, or batik products such as stamps, paintings, neck-ties, scarves, cards – can qualify for copyright protection.

 

To protect your formula, what you should be looking at is patent protection. Patent is an exclusive right granted by the government to the owner of an invention for a period of 20 years. It is a lawful way to claim ownership of your unique formula. With patent protection, it prevents any third party from making, selling, using and distributing your formula as a product for commercial gains without your permission, and therefore, you can enjoy the liberty to decide on the ways in which you wish to reap profits from your unique formula.

 

To file for a patent application, your unique formula has to meet three requirements: it is new, has an inventive step and is industrially applicable. Say for example, your unique formula has a certain combination of ingredients (i.e. beeswax or dyes) or processes (i.e. heating or mixing at particular temperature) which can overcome an existing problem of colour resist in the batik industry, and, assuming that no one has ever invented this before – this meets the first requirement of being new. Inventive step means that your unique formula must not be obvious to the people skilled in the batik industry. For industrial applicability, your unique formula must be capable of being produced and used on an industrial scale. If your unique formula meets all of the above requirements, you stand a good chance of getting your unique formula patented.

Patent rights are territorial, meaning that the protection can only be enforced in the country where the patent is granted; therefore, you might also want to consider filing for foreign applications outside Malaysia. Why? Think of it from a global business perspective – suppose your unique formula is a huge success in the local arena, the likelihood that it would be replicated in overseas markets to achieve similar commercial success would be high. Similarly, there may also be great demand for the product for its problem-solving benefits in the batik industry. When a patent is filed Malaysia, everyone in Malaysia is prohibited from making, using, selling or distributing the patented product, while those in other countries may be free to make, use, sell or distribute it in their respective countries. Because of this, you may want to file foreign applications for your unique formula preemptively, not only in your competitors’ countries to prevent them from encroaching on your rights, but also in countries where there is a big potential market for the batik industry i.e. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, etc.

Your unique formula can also be protected under another type of protection called trade secrets. Trade secrets are confidential or classified information not generally known or easily obtainable which gives an enterprise a competitive edge over competitors. A trade secret is not a secret anymore if it is revealed to the public, and, when that happens, the protection is lost forever. In relation to your unique formulation, you can protect the information by having anyone (i.e. employees) who has direct or indirect contact with the trade secret agree not to disclose the information by entering into a written contract and signing non-disclosure agreements.

 

I hope the above has been beneficial to you. As usual, please note that this is based only on the limited information given and is not to be construed as professional legal advice.  


In order to export batik to other countries, what is the cheaper way of shipping, for example from Kota Bharu to US? To import cotton/silk into malaysia, which is the best entry point for me to do so?
Mustapha Ahmad, 34, businessman

answered by Madam Zuraidah, Kraftangan Malaysia

 

 

The cheapest way of exporting batik shipment from KB to US is via Port Kelang. The best entry point for the importation of raw material for the batik industry into Malaysia direct from the producing country is via Port Klang as the port has the best

 

 

 

facilities for clearance.

 

I am looking to purchase batik dyes for my batik project. Can you recommend a few places where I could purchase good quality ones?
Wong Ee Lin, 23, student

answered by Madam Zuraidah, Kraftangan Malaysia

To purchase batik dyes for your batik project you may approach Batik Craftsmen at Complex Craft Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Conlay or at art shops like Nanyang at Petaling Street. For commercial production of batik you can contact :-

 

 

Industri Kraf Samasa Lima

 

5166, Jalan Kuala Krai, 15050 Kota Bharu,
Kelantan Darul Naim.
Tel :09-7461210 (En. Kamaruzaman)


I am a big fan of batik and would like to know the difference between Terengganu batik sarong and Kelantan batik sarong? Why are there more batik entrepreneurs in Kelantan and Terengganu as compared to other states?
Mohd Husni, 38, teacher

answered by Madam Zuraidah, Kraftangan Malaysia

The Batik sarong of Terengganu and Kelantan can be differenciated though the process of making the batiks. The Batik sarong of Terengganu uses at least 3 to 4 times of repeated hand printing with batik block mould on hot wax. This process is known as Batik sarong lapis or lapis.

The Terengganu Batik sarong are more colourful than the Kelantan Batik sarong. They are hand coloured and done at home by housewives in their spare time to get extra money to supplement the family income. The semi-finished sarongs are then collected by the manufacturer / entrepreneur for final finishing.

The Kelantan Batik sarongs are similar to that of Terengganu using the hand block printing method with traditional design but only uses 2 layering of wax processing. Hence it has less colours.

Batik sarongs are also screen printed in both states. Traditional Batik sarongs are of cotton material but today some are of mix materials as well as on silk today for the up market buyers and collectors.

There are more batik producers and entrepreneurs in Kelantan and Terengganu as it is due to the fact that both these states are pioneers. Many are family businesses or enterprises inherited apart from the fact that the people from the East Coast are very artistic.

I am a batik designer and am interested to know more about copyright issues in terms of batik designs. Does batik pattern copyright exist in Malaysia? If so, how do batik designers apply for their designs to be copyrighted?
Nor Sharifah, 33, batik designer

answered by Madam Zuraidah, Kraftangan Malaysia

 

 

When it comes to the question of copyright issues for batik, one needs to take a different approach. Patenting rights are more for

 

 

 

Industrial Products. Batik falls under the arts and crafts category therefore if one wants to protect one’s designs it must be protected as a work of art. Certain steps need to be taken on how to get one’s design protected as there had been legal precedents on this issues. If you need more information, you may consult with an expert, Mr. Abdul Karim Bin Said of Khadaui Sdn Bhd at 03-61202634.

 

 

 

I am a graphic designer. I have a few designs that I wish to transfer into batik. Is there any place that can help me in this?

 

Komala Singh, 25, designer

answered by Madam Zuraidah, Kraftangan Malaysia

 

 

As a graphic designer your designs can be transferred into batik by any batik entrepreneur or maker. In Kuala Lumpur you may approach Batik Craftsmen at Complex Craft Kuala Lumpur, Section 63, Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. C’Wok, Nik Faudzan.

 

What is your personal opinion on Malaysian batik within the next 5 years batik entrepreneurs?
Michael Van Leuwen, 43, businessman

answered by Madam Zuraidah, Kraftangan Malaysia

 

 

Batik is an exciting medium of working on fabric and testing one’s artistic skills and patience. The craft is so versatile that one may design anything one fancies immediately and have a one-off design that can be collected or sold. I personally feel that Batik is going to make an impact on the fashion industry since it is highly promoted by the Malaysian government through its agencies as well as well-known local fashion designers.

 

The usage of natural dye for batik should be explored more due to the global warming phenomenon. Many organic and agricultural methods, if properly utilized, can open up a fantastic new world of exciting colours when applied on cotton or silk.

I am a local batik artist and have been doing this since 2004. Over the years, through trial and error I have developed my own style in doing my batik painting. I was featured by many local newspapers and magazines as well. I am quite established in batik field.

Lately I discovered my ex-employee who left my company a couple of months back posted her own batik painting in Facebook and her style was very much similar to mine. She was learning and following me with my own personal assistance for years and I generously taught her everything I know.

I have forwarded those photos of my ex-employee’s batik paintings to many people around me. All of them got a wrong impression and thought that it was my painting as the style she used to produce the batik was very much similar to mine.

Please let me have your advice as to how to deal with this and whether I have any copyright protection although I did not formerly register them and whether I have a legal cause of action against my ex-employee.

From,

Shocking Artist

Answered by Miss Geetha from Kass International Malaysia

Dear Shocking Artist,

If your employee has entered into a contract with you whereby you have informed your employee (either orally or in writing) that he or she cannot use the same style or technique of painting when they leave your employment, then the act of using the same style or technique by your ex-employee will be a breach of contract. You can write a legal letter to them to prompt them to cease their unlawful activities and if the letter is not heeded, then you can take an action in Court for breach of contract.

Also, if the manner of producing your style of painting has been kept as a “secret” within your business and your employee has been informed, either verbally or in writing, that the manner of producing the style is a “secret” and is intended to be kept as such, then you may be able to sue your ex-employee for disclosing the “trade secret”.

Trade secrets are confidential information in a business which serves to give the business owner a competitive edge over his or her competitors and the information has been kept confidential within a few individuals only. Some examples of trade secrets are recipes (KFC’s batter for fried chicken is a trade secret), formulas for beverages (Coca Cola’s formula is a trade secret), manufacturing techniques, marketing strategies, list of clients/customers and list of suppliers/service providers.

Now, in your situation, if the manner of producing your special style of painting batik has been kept confidential and you have taken all the measures possible to keep the manner confidential, then the manner of producing your special style of painting batik will qualify as a “trade secret” in Court. However, if no effort has been made to keep the manner of painting confidential; the painting is done in public or shown to the public, the manner is discussed in exhibitions or explained to your clients/customers or suppliers and all of your employees were not informed of the confidentiality of the information, then the manner of painting will not be accepted as a “trade secret”.

Merely calling information “trade secret” does not make it a trade secret. Courts will consider all the evidence surrounding the information and see whether the information has been treated as a secret by the business owner.  As mentioned above, the formula of Coca-Cola is a trade secret and the Coca-Cola company has taken extreme measures to keep the information confidential – the formula is kept locked in a bank vault in Atlanta, U.S. and the vault can only be opened by a resolution of the Coca-Cola Company’s board of directors.

What if you have not kept the manner of painting as a secret and you have not entered into a contract with your employee restricting him to disclose or use the style and technique of painting? Can you still take action against your ex-employee for stealing the technique?

Well, there is another possibility. You state that you have sent your ex-employee’s batik paintings to other people and they have the impression that the batik paintings are similar to yours. If you have created a name in the industry for creating such paintings, then you have reputation and goodwill which your ex-employee is riding on. You may have an action in Court against your ex-employee for passing off. To pass off one’s product as if it comes from a different source is against the law and if the public is mislead or misrepresented by your ex-employee’s production of batik paintings in your style, then you will be able to stop their activities with a Court order.

What if you have not built up a reputation and there is no misrepresentation? In such a situation, an action under passing off will be weak.

What if the information has not been kept as a secret, there is no written or verbal contract between you and your ex-employee and your ex-employee has merely copied your “style” of painting and not the actual elements in the painting (e.g., the same flowers, leaves and branches have been copied and placed in the exact location as that placed in your painting)? In such a situation, there is nothing you can do about this “stealing of style/technique of painting”.

To copy someone’s idea or style is not an unlawful act. Take for instance an artist who copies Van Gogh’s very distinctive style of painting but does not copy any painting by Van Gogh. The artist has not infringed any copyright owned by Van Gogh. No one can own a particular style of painting, regardless of whether it is batik or oil painting.

In the event that you have created a new brush which enables you to produce that special style of painting batik, then the new brush can be protected by way of “industrial design” protection or “patent” protection. Industrial design protection is obtained by registering the design of your brush with the Malaysian Intellectual Property Corporation (MyIPO). With the registration of your brush design, you can have a 15 year monopoly over the design in Malaysia. Anyone found to be using the same brush design without your permission can be brought to Court for an injunction action (action to stop them from using the design).

Patent protection is possible for your brush or machinery that produces your special style of painting if the brush or machinery is new, inventive and has a function that you wish to protect. Patents are also registered with MyIPO and a granted Patent provides the patent owner 20 years of monopoly to exploit the new brush/machinery.

Shocking Artist, you have raised a question which has a myriad of issues. I hope the above has enlightened you somewhat with regards to what can be done about the copying by your ex-employee. Do be aware that the above advice is based on the limited information provided and that no action should be taken based on the information provided without first securing professional legal advice.

I have been in the Batik industry for many years and have done some extensive research on coloring and wax and gum resist and have developed a formula of a certain mixture of resist that I would like to claim as my own. How should I proceed and what steps I should take to copyright my formula?

Best regards, Cindy Lee

answered by Miss Geetha, Kass International Malaysia

Dear Copyright owner wannabe,

Copyright is not the right protection because it does not protect formula, but instead, it protects the creative works of artists, painters and the like. In your industry, batik print motifs and designs, or batik products such as stamps, paintings, neck-ties, scarves, cards – can qualify for copyright protection.

 

To protect your formula, what you should be looking at is patent protection. Patent is an exclusive right granted by the government to the owner of an invention for a period of 20 years. It is a lawful way to claim ownership of your unique formula. With patent protection, it prevents any third party from making, selling, using and distributing your formula as a product for commercial gains without your permission, and therefore, you can enjoy the liberty to decide on the ways in which you wish to reap profits from your unique formula.

 

To file for a patent application, your unique formula has to meet three requirements: it is new, has an inventive step and is industrially applicable. Say for example, your unique formula has a certain combination of ingredients (i.e. beeswax or dyes) or processes (i.e. heating or mixing at particular temperature) which can overcome an existing problem of colour resist in the batik industry, and, assuming that no one has ever invented this before – this meets the first requirement of being new. Inventive step means that your unique formula must not be obvious to the people skilled in the batik industry. For industrial applicability, your unique formula must be capable of being produced and used on an industrial scale. If your unique formula meets all of the above requirements, you stand a good chance of getting your unique formula patented.

Patent rights are territorial, meaning that the protection can only be enforced in the country where the patent is granted; therefore, you might also want to consider filing for foreign applications outside Malaysia. Why? Think of it from a global business perspective – suppose your unique formula is a huge success in the local arena, the likelihood that it would be replicated in overseas markets to achieve similar commercial success would be high. Similarly, there may also be great demand for the product for its problem-solving benefits in the batik industry. When a patent is filed Malaysia, everyone in Malaysia is prohibited from making, using, selling or distributing the patented product, while those in other countries may be free to make, use, sell or distribute it in their respective countries. Because of this, you may want to file foreign applications for your unique formula preemptively, not only in your competitors’ countries to prevent them from encroaching on your rights, but also in countries where there is a big potential market for the batik industry i.e. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, etc.

Your unique formula can also be protected under another type of protection called trade secrets. Trade secrets are confidential or classified information not generally known or easily obtainable which gives an enterprise a competitive edge over competitors. A trade secret is not a secret anymore if it is revealed to the public, and, when that happens, the protection is lost forever. In relation to your unique formulation, you can protect the information by having anyone (i.e. employees) who has direct or indirect contact with the trade secret agree not to disclose the information by entering into a written contract and signing non-disclosure agreements.

I hope the above has been beneficial to you. As usual, please note that this is based only on the limited information given and is not to be construed as professional legal advice.