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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Dez 06, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 22/16)
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Draft Trade Mark Law in Progress

Myanmar’s Draft Trade Mark Law is expected to be passed in 2017. This signals substantial changes to the current process which is based on common law and common practice rather than statute. The Draft Law intends to import structure and certainty into Myanmar’s trademark regime to generate greater protection and preservation of intellectual property and to meet international obligations derived from the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs Agreement).

The new laws set the parameters for what constitutes a trademark and confirms that trademark protection will also be available for service marks, collective marks, certification marks and series of marks.

Under the new laws, a draft of which was made public in July. The proposed changes are:
- First-to-use system will be replaced by a first-to-file system aligning Myanmar with other ASEAN nations.
- Registration will confer protection for 10 years from the filing date, and is renewable every 10 years.
- Trademark owners will have the ability to file litigation in both civil and criminal actions against infringers in specialist Intellectual Property courts, which are in the process of being established.
- Local agents are still required to file trademarks on behalf of individuals or corporations whose ordinary residence or principal place of business lies outside Myanmar.
- Trademarks under the new laws must be distinctive and must not be registered in bad faith.
- Upon receiving the requisite forms and information the Registrar will perform an inspection and publicise the trademark inviting opposition within a defined period of time (30 days if the opponent resides in Myanmar and 60 days if the opponent resides outside Myanmar).
- A trademark can be cancelled if determined as unregistrable under the new laws. The grounds for cancellation also encompass non-use for three consecutive years, and therefore trademark owners should ensure they are actively using their trademarks in Myanmar.

To facilitate the move from first-to-use to first-to-file a transitional period of three years has been proposed to commence on the date the new law enters into force.

Owners who have a trademark recorded on the Registry of Deeds and Assurance must re-file their trademark with the Myanmar Intellectual Property Office (MIPO) when the new law comes into effect. This would preserve priority under the new system.

If the mark has not been re-filed with the MIPO, the record on the Registry of Deeds and Assurances will automatically expire when the transitional period concludes.

Source: DLA Piper LLP, Australia