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New trademark registration system in Myanmar: "soft opening" starts on 1st October 2020
2020-09-10

Rights will be guaranteed on a "first to file" basis: it is advisable to gather documents as soon as possible in order to keep your trademarks in the South-East Asian country

As anticipated in our previous news, a new Intellectual Property Office was recently established in Myanmar (formerly Burma), with the aim of implementing a trademark registration system compliant with international standards - therefore with examination of the application, publication, registration, etc.

On the 28th of August 2020, Myanmar's Minister of Commerce finally announced that the opening date for the “Soft Opening” period has been set for the 1st of October 2020.

During this period, registration requests may be filed in accordance with the new system for trademarks already protected in Myanmar on the basis of:

  • Declaration of Ownership filed at the time of the first registration application in force under the “old system”;
  • Trademarks used (so-called de facto trademarks) in Myanmar.

The new system will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will coincide with the “Soft Opening” period, which will be followed by the “Grand Opening” period in the second phase.

Currently, the duration of the “Soft Opening” period has yet to be announced, despite rumors of a possible duration of six months.

Exclusive rights on trademarks will be guaranteed on the basis of the “first to file” principle. It is in fact important to note that once the new registration system is fully operational, it will no longer be possible to prove rights in Myanmar by virtue of previously recognized documentation.

In order to maintain exclusive rights in this state, it is therefore advisable to register trademarks as soon as possible in compliance with the new system.

Currently, the documents required to proceed, such as letters of appointment etc., have not been defined. However, affected owners must as of now retrieve the documents proving previous registration or use of the trademark, if this is not yet registered in that state. In this regard, there will be two possible actions:

1. Re-filing of registered trademarks

The following documents and information are required to proceed with re-filing:

  • representation of the trademark which has to be identical to those previously registered;
  • name and address of the owner;
  • indication of the Nice classes to be protected;
  • description of the goods/services to be claimed which has to be identical to the one previously registered: extensions of protection will not be considered;
  • Declaration of Ownership previously filed (original copy);
  • Cautionary Notice previously published;
  • proof of changes in ownership/headquarters (if any).

2. Filing of de facto trademarks in Myanmar

Even those who have simply used a trademark without obtaining registration will be able to benefit from the “Soft Opening” period. In this case, the documents and information required are the following:

  • representation of the trademark;
  • name and address of the owner;
  • indication of the Nice classes to be protected;
  • description of the goods/services to be claimed;
  • proof of use of the trademark in Myanmar;
  • evidence attesting to promotional/advertising campaigns relating to the trademark;
  • tax receipts/invoices;
  • any other documentation that may be required by the local Trademark Office.

We are available to our customers to initiate the procedures indicated above and to provide clarifications or insight for the protection of their trademarks in Myanmar. We will, at the same time, continue to follow this important change and keep you updated on developments.

For used trademarks only, it is advisable to collect all the evidence available, which will have to be examined on case by case basis.

We are at our Client's full disposal to proceed and to give all the required information and clarifications. At the same time we will of course continue to follow this new important change and will keep you duly updated of any developments.

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