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July 16, 2014

James Evans and Yuwadee Thean-ngarm Interviewed by MIP on Myanmar’s Trademark Law

Managing Intellectual Property

Since Myanmar’s historic by-election in 2012, the country has made significant progress in drafting a modernized set of intellectual property (IP) laws. Myanmar’s first draft trademark law is now nearing completion, and hopes are justifiably high for its strong adherence to international standards, as the World Intellectual Property Organization has provided ample support in the creation of the laws.

To comment on these issues and more, James Evans and Yuwadee Thean-ngarm, Bangkok- and Yangon-based consultants in Tilleke & Gibbins’ intellectual property group, were interviewed by legal publication Managing Intellectual Property.

James, speaking on a positive aspect of Myanmar’s draft trademark law, says, “The draft sets out bad faith when registering a mark as one of the grounds for opposition.” He continues: “Not all jurisdictions have such a provision, and I think it can be helpful to rights holders.” James also points out that the draft law bars trademarks that violate copyright.

Moving on to how brand owners should prepare for change, James recommends that they continue to register and issue notices under the current system, and says that though the transitional provisions are not finalized yet, one option may be for the new trademark office to prioritize the examination of the marks of applicants who have a registration certificate under the old system.

Yuwadee, looking at more practical matters, says that the location of Myanmar’s trademark office is still an issue of contention. She says, “The location of the trademark office has not yet been finalized. This is because they have not yet decided under which government ministry the trademark office will fall.” Continuing, Yuwadee comments: “Also, it is possible that the trademark office will have a branch office in Yangon and/or Mandalay to handle the large volume of applications and to overcome practicality issues.”

Managing Intellectual Property is a leading IP-focused publication. If you would like to read the full article, please visit the Managing IP website (subscription required).