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March 31, 2023

Myanmar Activates Trademark Courts for Impending Start Date of Trademark Law

With Myanmar’s new Trademark Law set to come into force on April 1, enabling legislation has now been issued to grant certain courts jurisdiction to hear claims under the law. This provides trademark owners with an avenue to file claims under the Trademark Law for the first time, and is a very positive indication that no further delays to implementation are likely.

The Trademark Law grants the Supreme Court of Myanmar the power to establish an Intellectual Property Rights Court. The Supreme Court can also assign new jurisdiction to existing courts pending the establishment of the Intellectual Property Rights Court.

The enabling legislation, which takes the form of five notifications issued by the Supreme Court, accordingly confers jurisdiction on several existing courts. This includes the jurisdiction to hear criminal and civil complaints and appeals against decisions of the trademark authorities. The High Court of Yangon Region and the High Court of the Regions and States are also given appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals against the orders, decisions and judgments of other appointed courts.

No further information has been given on whether or when a separate Intellectual Property Rights Court will be established.

This development confirms that brand owners—who previously had no recourse to specialized courts in Myanmar regarding the enforcement of their trademark rights—will soon be able to pursue cases. Moreover, the issuance of these notifications gave a strong confirmation that the Trademark Law would indeed take effect on April 1, as planned.

As we explained in a previous update, a date for the “grand opening” has yet to be announced, meaning it will still be some time before marks that were refiled during the “soft opening” will be given a filing date and before applications for all other marks can be filed. However, it is expected that the Trademark Rules, which will set up detailed procedures and guidelines for trademark matters, will be released soon.

For more information on these new judicial options for enforcing trademark rights in Myanmar, or on any aspect related to the country’s new procedures and practices under the Trademark Law, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].