On July 14, 2023, Myanmar’s Ministry of Planning and Finance issued Notification No. 50/2023, which sets out the rules, requirements, and procedures for registered trademark owners to protect their intellectual property rights through customs recordation in accordance with the relevant section of the Trademark Law 2019. The notification is accompanied by eight forms to be used in trademark-related customs matters (three for use by applicants and five for use by the Customs Department).
Owners of trademarks registered under the Trademark Law 2019 can apply (directly or via a legal representative) for customs recordation to protect against cross-border trade in counterfeit goods bearing their registered marks. Applications using the specified form should attach the required documentary evidence, including any separately specified by the Customs Department.
If the application for recordation is accepted, the Customs Department will provide the applicant with a registration number within 15 days of receiving the application. Recordations are valid for two years from the acceptance date of the application and can be renewed every two years, 30 days before the expiration date.
According to the notification, owners of marks recorded by the Customs Department must notify the department within three working days upon amendment or withdrawal of any information related to the mark at the Intellectual Property Department (IPD), and submit any necessary documentation.
Regardless of whether a customs recordation has been filed, owners of trademarks registered under the Trademark Law 2019 can request a suspension order to prevent the release of goods into free circulation by laying out sufficient grounds for believing that counterfeit goods are being or will be imported into the country. Applications can be in English or Myanmar language, and a translation may be required upon the Customs Department’s request. Applications can be submitted in person, by post, or electronically.
The Customs Department will notify the applicant of the outcome of the application within 30 days of receiving it. If it is accepted, the applicant must pay a security (amount not yet specified) as directed within five working days of the date of the suspension order; otherwise, the application will be rejected.
Intellectual property enforcement measures by the Customs Department cannot be carried out in relation to the following goods under this notification:
- Goods below the threshold for collecting duties and taxes (de minimis goods);
- Transshipment cargo;
- Reshipment cargo;
- Retention cargo;
- Transit trade cargo; and
- Goods imported with the government’s approval as required by the public interest or an emergency situation.
Outcomes of Recordation or Suspension
If the Customs Department, upon its inspection based on customs recordation or after accepting a suspension order, finds sufficient evidence that imported goods are using counterfeit marks as suspected, it will suspend the goods from free circulation in Myanmar and administer the suspended goods in accordance with the decision of the Customs Department’s director general or the IPD’s order.
For more information on these customs recordation measures, or on any aspect of protecting intellectual property in Myanmar, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].