On March 9, 2023, Myanmar’s Intellectual Property Department (IPD) informed the country’s certified trademark representatives that the Trademark Law enacted in 2019 is set be enforced on April 1, 2023. A written notification about the effective date of the Trademark Law is expected soon. [Update: The official announcement is contained in Notification No. 82/2023, which was dated March 10, 2023, and published in the government-owned daily newspaper the following day.]
The Trademark Rules, which are necessary to establish procedures for collecting official fees, are expected to be issued in March 2023. Once the Trademark Rules are set up and the Trademark Law comes into force, the official fees will be announced by a separate notification, as will the start of the second phase of the “soft opening” period.
This second phase is expected to commence on April 3, 2023. In this phase, mark owners can pay the official fees for trademark applications filed within the first phase of the soft opening. In the meantime, the marks recorded under Myanmar’s old system or used in the country can still be filed together with payment during the soft opening’s second phase—either in person by the mark owner or through a certified representative via the online system. This second phase will continue until Ministry of Commerce (MOC) officials announce the “grand opening” of the IPD, which they hope to achieve in 2023.
The IPD officials added that applications can now be submitted together with the notarized appointment of representative form that was issued by the MOC for appointing a representative for trademark matters. Any other requests, such as those for amendment, assignment, or change of representative, still need to wait for the IPD’s grand opening.
While subsequent rules and announcements are expected soon, owners of existing marks should consider refiling these marks with the IPD before the end of the soft opening—if they have not done so already—to reserve the earliest application date (filing date) under the new Trademark Law’s first-to-file system. Owners of new marks should prepare their trademark portfolios (e.g., by ensuring that all necessary details are easily and quickly available) for filing as soon as the IPD’s grand opening occurs.
We will continue to monitor developments regarding the upcoming enforcement of the Trademark Law. For more information on preparing for the law to take effect, or on any aspect of protecting intellectual property rights in Myanmar, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].