“Soft Opening” Launch To Finally Kick-start Applications under Myanmar’s New Trade Mark Law
By Kevin Wong (Ella Cheong LLC)
After almost a year’s hiatus since the initial enactment of Myanmar’s new Trade Mark Law on 30 January 2019, the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Commerce has finally scheduled the start of actual operations of the Trade Mark Office in Yangon and Naypyidaw, with January 2020 earmarked for commencement of a “Soft Opening” period under the new Law. Summary details of this slated launch as available to us to date, and which may be subject to change, are as follows: –
“Soft Opening” Period
January 2020 to June 2020 has been scheduled as a “Soft Opening” period for re-filing of old marks previously registered at the Registry of Deeds and Assurances under the predecessor “Stamped Declaration” system (“Old Marks”). Such re-filed Old Marks will enjoy priority examination and benefit from trade mark rights under the new first-to-file system.
Old Marks filed after the “Soft Opening” will not enjoy priority examination. In addition, new marks that have never been registered under the “Stamped Declaration” system (“New Marks”) will not be eligible for filing during the “Soft Opening”. A subsequent “Grand Opening” launch for New Mark filings will be announced in due course.
Old Marks re-filed during the “Soft Opening” will get a priority date (likely 1 January 2020) provided their applicants can provide, to the satisfaction of the Trade Mark Office, evidence of old registrations/use in the country of origin as well as intention to use in Myanmar. The Trade Mark Office may impose/prescribe requirements for additional documents in this connection to be attached to an application.
Business owners wishing to protect any New Marks in Myanmar should file them under the “Stamped Declaration” system before the end of this year (2019), in order to have any possibility of qualifying for beneficial re-filing during the “Soft Opening”.
The above scheduled launch heralds a major milestone in the development of Myanmar’s trade mark law, as this emerging economy sets its sights on boosting growth and foreign investment through a modernised intellectual property rights infrastructure.