Businesses in Myanmar urged to register trademarks in line with new law

Business owners should register their trademarks in line with the Trademark Law to streamline the process of shifting from the first-to-use system to the firstto-file system, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC)announced on August 28.

The first-to-file system grants trademark owners the right for registration of the mark to the person who files his application under the law first.

All trademark owners are obliged to follow the announcement if they want to enjoy a right of priority in Myanmar. This means that trademark owners who have filed an application for registration of the mark in any member state of the Paris Convention or World Trade Organisation shall have priority in registering the mark in Myanmar, according to a March 2019 note by law firm Allen & Gledhill.

Applications should be filed at the Registrar from October 1. Once approved, the official registration date will be the date of filing, the MOC said.

Under the Trademark Law, a registered mark is valid in Myanmar for 10 years from the filing date.

“Trademarks are the keys to business. Consumers choose products by looking at the trademark. Our concern is that there would be some dispute among owners of products that bear the same brand or name. The government should conduct educational programs on how to solve such issues if they occur,” said U Ngwe Tun, owner of Genius Shan Highland Coffee.

He added that many small and medium size enterprises have collected the needed documents for registering their trademarks and are now preparing to apply.

Applications can be done electronically or at the Department of Consumer Affairs under the MOC. Business owners may register on their own or through agents and lawyers.

When applying to register the trademark, the mark for which the copyright is being applied for must be the same as any previous trademarks already registered with the Registrar or the real trademark which is currently used in the market. The goods and services provided under the trademark must also be the same and international classifications provided.

The new Myanmar Trademark Law was passed in January 2019. This was followed by the Industrial Design Rights Law, Patent Law and Literature and Art Copyright Law for Intellectual Property Rights in 2019. The four laws are not yet in force. A date of commencement of the laws will be set when the President issues a notification.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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