Myanmar does not currently have any IP Laws. IP rights are protected by the filing of a Declaration of Ownership with the Registry of Deeds, and the publication of a Cautionary Notice in a local newspaper, in order to alert third parties to the existence of an IP right.
 
On 30th January 2019, a new trade mark law was passed by the Myanmar Parliament. It will enter into force after an Intellectual Property Office is established, which was originally expected to happen in January 2020. However, the establishment of an Intellectual Property Office has taken longer than the Myanmar authorities originally anticipated, due to COVID-19 as well as other reasons, and whilst it is hoped that the new IPO will open soon, no-one can say at present when this will happen.
 
Once the IPO opens, there will be a period of 6 months before the new trade mark law enters into force. During this transitional “soft opening period”, the IPO will accept applications for trade marks which have been recorded at the Registry of Deeds under the current system of trade mark protection in Myanmar. All applications filed in the soft opening  period will receive a filing date of the date the new law comes into force.
 
We recommend that those wishing to file trade marks in Myanmar should file Declarations of Ownership with the Registry of Deeds  as soon as possible, to enable us to file trade mark applications during the 6 month soft opening period, as we understand that such trade marks will be given priority over other trade marks filed when the new law enters into force. Please note that trade marks which are the subject of Declarations of Ownership filed with the Registry of Deeds after the IPO opens cannot be filed at the IPO during the soft opening period.
 
The new trade mark law will change Myanmar from a common law system, where trade mark rights are accrued through use, to a civil law jurisdiction in which trade mark rights are granted to the first to file. Therefore, it is vital that proprietors who wish to protect their trade marks in Myanmar should arrange for applications to be filed at the new IPO on the day the IPO opens for business, even though it is not currently known when this will be. 
 
We encourage those who have registered Declarations of Ownership in Myanmar to forward instructions to file their trade marks at the IPO as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Regulations, including the official fees, have yet to be published, so we are unable to advise of the cost of filing under the new law yet. This information will be made available as soon as the official fees have been finalised.
 
New Industrial Designs, Patent and Copyright laws have also recently been enacted, but again, the effective date of these yet is yet to be determined.  We will post further details of these laws once they have been made available.

For more information please contact the author, Martin Chinnery, at martin@lysaght.co.uk