Long delayed IP law undergoing legal review


A law to regulate intellectual property – covering essential matters of copyright, design, trademarks and patents – could finally be passed later this year as the latest draft is now undergoing legal review before its submission to parliament.

A strong IP law is considered vital to attracting foreign investors who might otherwise be concerned that their trademarks or patents could be pirated. It has special significance in view of Myanmar’s entry into the

ASEAN Economic Community, scheduled for launch next year.

“After review, the draft can be submitted to parliament,” Daw Hnin Nwe Aye, assistant director in the Ministry of Science and Technology, the ministry in charge of drawing up the law in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation, said on April 22.

The draft covers copyright, industrial design, trademarks and patents, as well as defining crimes and setting penalties, including imprisonment and fines for breaches of the law, in accordance with international norms. It would replace a copyright law enacted in 1914.

U Aung Soe Oo, adviser to the ASEAN Intellectual Property Association, said an IP law would prevent the imitation of trademarks and patent infringements.

“We need an IP law so that companies can register their trademark and patents, and they will be protected,” he said.

U Than Maung, another adviser to the ASEAN Intellectual Property Association, said the law should be enacted before 2015 to ensure protection for international investment and trading within the context of the ASEAN economic community.

Ron Harris, executive director of Food and Agriculture into Asia under Australia’s Department of the Environment and Primary Industries Victoria, said, “We are interested in investing in Myanmar as a new market.” But he added that an IP law would help to make sure that products were protected.

Attempts to enact an IP law have been ongoing since 1998, with the first draft completed in 2004. Drafting resumed in 2012. The current version is the 12th draft.

Source: Myanmar Times

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