3 June, 2013

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Myanmar

 

Myanmar has recently released a copy of its draft trade mark legislation for comments. The new legislation prescribes specific rights for trade mark owners, and envisages the establishment of a Myanmar Industrial Property Office to handle trade mark matters such as filings, registrations and conduct of trade mark proceedings. 


Under the current regime, in the absence of a specific trade mark law, trade marks are registered under the Registration Act. All applications for trade mark registration are currently granted without the need for a substantive examination of the mark. When the registration process is completed, it is an established practice for trade mark owners to publish a trade mark Cautionary Notice in the local English newspapers, stating that appropriate legal action will be taken against any unauthorised use of or infringement of the trade mark. The Cautionary Notice is usually published once every three years to remind the public of his ownership of the trade mark, which will serve to ward off a potential infringement. The publication of Cautionary Notice is not compulsory nor a stipulation by any law, however, this has trade advertising and commercial value and constitutes prima facie and circumstantial evidence in favour of the proprietor in case of infringement. 


Based on the draft legislation, prior to the grant of a trade mark registration, a substantive examination of the trade mark application will be conducted to ensure that the trade marks applied for meet certain criteria, and which is in line with many other countries with a developed trade mark protection regime. 


Once the draft legislation is in force, trade marks which are already registered under the Registration Act will automatically enjoy protection under the new law for a period of 3 years. Thereafter, such trade mark rights will lapse unless the trade mark owner applies for and is granted registration under the new trade mark 
law. 


At this point, it is unclear how the priority of existing trade mark rights will be assessed under the new law. However, in order to enjoy the automatic 3-year protection under the new legislation, owners of unregistered marks should consider securing trade mark registrations under the Registration Act based on the current regime, before the new trade mark law comes into force.

 

 
For further information, please contact:
 
Lorraine Anne Tay, Partner, ATMD Bird & Bird
lorraine.tay@twobirds.com

 
Angelique Chan, ATMD Bird & Bird
angelique.chan@twobirds.com
 

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