4 February 2019Trademarks

Myanmar passes new trademark and design law

Myanmar’s long-awaited trademark and industrial design bills have been signed into law by Win Myint, the country’s president.

The laws, which make fundamental changes to the framework of IP in the country, were passed on Wednesday January 30 but will not be enforced until a further notification is issued by the president. There is no indication of when that will happen yet.

The bills are two of four new IP laws that are expected to be passed by the government. The copyright and patent bills are still awaiting further approvals by the Myanmar parliament.

According to the  Myanmar Times, it is likely the trademark and industrial design laws will come into force once the relevant mechanisms, such as a trademark registry, have been established.

Along with a trademark registry, a new IP office and IP-dedicated courts will also be created.

The new government IP office will handle the registration of trademarks and designs and will be the first of its kind in the country.

The new trademark law will see a first-to-file registration system replace the country’s current first-to-use framework for trademark ownership.

This means that current trademark holders who registered under the first-to-use system will need to re-register their marks under the new system.

The new trademark registration term will be 10 years and trademark renewal will be available six months before their expiration date. The first-to-file system will also apply to industrial designs but these will have a five-year term and will be eligible for renewal for up to 15 years.

The industrial design bill will also cover the law surrounding the ownership of designs made by employees. Generally, the rights to register a design will be awarded to the employer if the design was created under an employer’s instruction. Otherwise, the employee will have the right to register the design.

Additionally, the licensing of exclusive rights to the use of a design may have to be recorded with the office under the new law.

U Thein Aung, the vice chair of Myanmar’s Intellectual Property Proprietors’ Association, told the Myanmar Times that businesses are already prepared for the additional registration.

“Local businesses are prepared to re-register their brands under the new law, which is an important step in implementing IP rights,” he said.

He added that the new legislation has been widely accepted because it was drafted based on international standards.

While the government has not yet enforced the new laws, it is working to train civil servants regarding IP matters and raise awareness of the importance of IP protection, the newspaper said.

According to the Intellectual Property Proprietors’ Association there are currently 60,000 registered trademarks in the country.

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