The Government of Myanmar has enacted Trademark law in March 2019 and is now taking steps to establish the new Trademark system to replace the current one where trademarks were registered with the Registrar of Deeds by way of submitting Declaration of Ownership of Trademark.
With the absence of a trademark law in Myanmar, brand owners have already adopted measures to protect their rights. Most of these brand owners have opted for registering their marks under the Registration Act with the Registrar of Deeds and publishing a cautionary notice thereafter. This works as an interim system for trademark protection and allows the IP owner to protect their mark by filing an application to record a Declaration of Ownership of Trademark. The trademark will have protection for three years from the registration date after the Declaration of Ownership of Trademark.
The recordation system does not include a substantive examination and therefore, more than one owner can record the ownership of the same mark.
FILING OF TRADEMARKS LIKELY TO COMMENCE FROM JANUARY 2020
In the Myanmar e-Services Implementation and Knowledge Exchange Workshop hosted by World Intellectual Property Organization and the Ministry of Education on October 22, 2019, it was disclosed that:
- New Intellectual Property Office of Myanmar will be set-up under the Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar.
- A ‘soft-opening’ period starting from January 2020 will be commenced by the IPO of Myanmar for recognizing existing trademark registrations by allowing these registrations to be re-filed within 6 months since the opening date on a first to file principle. Therefore, during this period, no new trademark will be received for registration.
- The new system aims at achieving compliance with international standards with publication, examination, registration or rejection etc.
- The IPO is also planning to simplify the current practice by releasing a standard form for requirements for Power of Attorney, associated fees etc.
Therefore, trademarks that have never been registered in Myanmar can only be filed in the second half of 2020. Thus, a brand owner who has never filed a trademark in Myanmar before but wish to file a mark during the ‘soft-opening’ period instead of waiting till the second half of 2020 can finish all the filings under the current system before the end of 2019 and re-file when the ‘soft-opening’ begins. Also, all the applications filed under the current system will enjoy senior rights over the third party marks and protection under the new trademark laws in Myanmar.