3 September 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Myanmar IP office to process first TM filings next month

Myanmar’s IP office will open for business next month as part of sweeping trademark reforms, the country’s government has announced.

Last week, the government confirmed that the Myanmar Department of Intellectual Property’s (MDIP) “soft opening period” will commence on October 1.

The MDIP was established under reforms to the south-east Asian country’s patent and trademark laws.

Owners of existing trademark rights in Myanmar will need to re-file with the MDIP from October 1.

Applicants will also be able to file an unregistered mark, currently in use in Myanmar, during the soft opening period.

But during this initial phase, the MDIP is not taking applications for entirely new trademarks. According to law firm Tilleke & Gibbins, which has offices in Myanmar, new filings will be available after the MDIP’s still-unscheduled “grand opening”.

This is expected to be in six months, if the government decides not to extend the soft opening period.

“Now that the Myanmar government has announced the soft opening period, owners of existing trademarks registered under the old system—as well as unregistered marks already used in Myanmar—can ensure that their trademark protection remains uninterrupted throughout the changeover to the new law,” said Yuwadee Thean-ngarm, director of Tilleke & Gibbins’ Myanmar office.

“During the transition, we are expecting (and already seeing) a high volume of filing and refiling instructions from brand owners who are eager to protect their trademark rights under the new law,” she added.

Last month, WIPR  spoke to  Moe Moe Thwe, deputy director of the MDIP, about the country’s efforts to revolutionise its IP system.

Sher Hann Chua, a consultant at Tilleke & Gibbins, said brand owners would benefit from a “modern law that is in line with today’s global standards and practices”.

“It is also important to note that the Trademark Law is only one of a suite of IP legislation that was passed last year, so this announcement of the soft opening period represents an early but important step in ushering in a comprehensive new legal regime for IP in Myanmar,” she said.

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