Myanmar: New Trade Mark Law anticipated to come into force in March 2023

In brief

On 12 January 2023, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) officially announced that the new Trade Mark Law (2019) is anticipated to come into force in March 2023 ("12 January Announcement").


Contents

Background

The 'soft opening period' of the new electronic trade mark system, which began on 1 October 2020, was announced by the MOC in Order No. 63/2020 ("Order"). The Order did not provide for the duration of the soft opening period but many expected it to last for only six months, to be followed by the 'grand opening' of the new trade mark registration system.

During this soft opening period, trade marks that had been registered via Declarations of Ownership filed with the Office of the Registration of Deeds and/or trade marks that have enjoyed use in Myanmar (for instance, evidenced by publication of a cautionary notice) (collectively, "Registered/Used Marks") may be filed through the electronic trade mark registration system prior to the Trade Mark Law coming into effect.

All other trade marks that do not fall within the ambit of Registered/Used Marks may only be filed after the Trade Mark Law comes into force, i.e., upon the grand opening of the new electronic trade mark system. 

For more information on the Trade Mark Law and the new electronic trade mark registration system, please refer to our client alert issued on 23 March 2022.

Significance

There have been no announcements since October 2020 as regards the grand opening of the new electronic trade mark system or when it would be triggered. Many trade mark rights owners were left in limbo in the absence of any development.

This 12 January Announcement stating that the new Trade Mark Law is anticipated to come into effect in March 2023 has therefore been long-awaited by trade mark practitioners and rights owners.

Although there has been no further announcement or guidance issued by the MOC or the Myanmar Intellectual Property Department with respect to the Trade Mark Rules (which is presently in the draft stage), trade mark forms and payment of official fees, this is nevertheless a significant welcome step forward.

The 12 January Announcement may be accessed via the MOC's website here.

Recommendations 

Presently, new Declaration of Ownership applications are still being accepted by the Office of the Registration of Deeds in Yangon. For owners of new trade marks who wish to take advantage of the 'common filing date', we suggest registering the Declaration of Ownership and filing the application under the new electronic trade mark system as soon as possible (whilst the soft opening period is still ongoing).

Equally, for trade mark owners who have registered Declarations of Ownership for their marks but have not filed the trade marks under the new electronic trade mark system during the soft opening period, we suggest filing them as soon as possible.

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