Myanmar’s State Administration Council has specified the enforcement date of the country’s 2019 Trademark Law as April 1, 2023—confirming a recent announcement from Myanmar’s Intellectual Property Department (IPD) to certified trademark representatives in the country. The official public announcement came in Notification No. 82/2023, which was dated March 10, 2023, and published in the government-owned daily newspaper the following day.
The planned next step is the promulgation of the Trademark Rules to establish substantive procedures on trademark-related matters for trademark applications under the new system. The rules, which are necessary to establish procedures for collecting official fees, are expected to be issued in March 2023. Once the Trademark Rules are established and the Trademark Law comes into force, the second phase of the IPD’s “soft opening” period will commence—expected to occur on April 3, 2023, if there are no further changes.
In this second phase, mark owners can pay the official fees for trademark applications filed within the first phase of the soft opening. According to IPD officials, marks recorded under Myanmar’s old system or used in the country can still be filed together with payment during the soft opening’s second phase, either in person by the mark owner or through a certified representative via the online system. Even if such a previously recorded mark is registered after April 1, 2023, the application during the second phase can still reserve the earliest possible filing date under the new first-to-file system.
This second phase will continue until the “grand opening” of the IPD commences, unless officials make further announcements to the contrary. IPD officials have confirmed that the earliest possible filing date of the new system will be the date of the IPD’s grand opening. In light of the ongoing and planned developments, the grand opening is expected to occur within 2023.
This news of the commencement of the Trademark Law has been long awaited, and it represents a milestone in the modernization of Myanmar’s legal landscape for intellectual property. The law provides a comprehensive legal framework for trademark protection in Myanmar and is expected to boost foreign investment in the country. It also aligns with international standards and practices, making it easier for businesses to navigate the trademark registration process.
With this development, it is essential for both owners of existing marks in Myanmar and owners of new marks to develop their strategies for protecting their marks under the Trademark Law by registering them with the IPD. Businesses should assess their existing trademarks and file applications for registration as soon as possible to avoid potential infringement issues. Additionally, trademark owners should keep an eye out for the release of the Trademark Rules in March 2023 to gain a better understanding of the registration process and associated fees.
By acting promptly in response to these developments, brand owners can secure the earliest filing date possible and claim the statutory rights awarded in the Trademark Law 2019.
This article first appeared in Managing Intellectual Property.
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Khin Myo Myo Aye, Tilleke & Gibbins