Myanmar has yet to put in place a robust IP legal regime that exudes confidence among investors. The country’s current laws make no recognition of foreign patents or trademarks, and many date back to the colonial era. Despite this, foreign investors are flocking to the country based on its perceived potential of transforming into a very lucrative market. To discuss these issues and more, the Democratic Voice of Burma, a nonprofit media organization, interviewed Darani Vachanavuttivong, Alan Adcock, and Michael Ramirez, lawyers at Tilleke & Gibbins.
Commenting on Myanmar’s trademark system, Darani and Alan said that until a new trademark law is passed, companies are advised to file a “declaration of ownership” in Myanmar as soon as possible if they are interested in entering the market. Otherwise, there is a risk of being sued by a person who has already used or registered a similar or identical trademark. Continuing, they said that if a dispute arises over the ownership of a trademark, foreign companies can file a lawsuit in the Myanmar courts, and based on past court decisions, they actually have a good chance of winning.
Michael, commenting on the decision to invest in Myanmar, said, “serious investors, i.e., those investors who are viewing Myanmar as a long-term investment, are not dissuaded by the lack of a fully-developed IP regime. It’s certainly an issue—it’s an issue that needs to be addressed—but it is not the determining factor for most of our clients in making that decision to enter the marketplace. Those broader decisions tend to be made based on a number of different inputs.”
If you would like to read the full article, please visit the DVB website.