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On the homestretch: Trademarks Law passes National Assembly

On the homestretch: Trademarks Law passes National Assembly

March 30, 2018

Continuing our intellectual property reform coverage, especially our comprehensive analysis of the Trademarks Bill (Read here) Myanmar recently saw the passing of the Trademarks Law by the National Assembly in a move which brings the long-awaited agenda intellectual property reform in Myanmar closer to reality. What is left now is for the lower house to finalize and approve the Trademarks Law and for the President to sign it into force.

Once enacted, the Trademarks Law will bring about a full suite of substantive and structural changes. These changes include the following:

1. Centralized Intellectual Property Office

A dedicated Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) will administer the trademarks registration system. It is anticipated that the relevant rules regarding filing, opposition and registration will be enacted in subsequent Trademark Rules.

2. The definition of a trademark under the Trademarks Law

Once enacted, the Trademarks Law will define a trademark as a two-tiered process; firstly, it must be “seeable by one’s own eyes” and secondly, it must be used to “distinguish goods or services dealt with by a person from those dealt with by another”. As discussed in the October 2017 edition of insights, this narrow definition of a trademark might be problematic for the registration of unconventional trademarks. However, we cannot discount the possibility that the Lower House may change the definition between now and enactment.

3. First to file

The Trademarks Law will implement a first-to-file system for trademark registration. This could spell trouble for businesses who fail to act quickly from day 1 of enactment to register their trademarks.

4. Trademark protection period

The Trademarks Law will allow a period of protection of ten (10) years This period may be extended by another ten (10) years “each time” the protection period expires, thereby allowing for perpetual proprietary ownership over your mark replacing the comparatively weaker system under the current Office of the Registration of Deeds system.

5. Penalties for infringement of trademarks

Finally, the Trademarks Law will enact a range of penalties for trademarks infringement which will further strengthen the rights of IP holders in Myanmar.


Qualified both in China and in New York, Edith is a senior associate based in our Yangon Office where she advises clients for commercial transactions across infrastructure, banking and financing as well as telecommunications sectors. She also represents clients in project negotiations with the Myanmar Government.

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Edwin is the senior partner of VDB Loi and a leading foreign legal advisor living in Myanmar since 2012. A frequent advisor to the Government on transactions and privatizations in energy, transportation and telecom, he is widely recognized for his “vast knowledge” (Legal 500) and his ability “to get difficult things through the bureaucracy ” (Chambers, 2016). He advises international financial institutions on their largest Myanmar transactions, oil and gas supermajors, a greenfield multi- billion US$ telecom project and the Japanese Government on the Thilawa SEZ. He assisted two newly licensed foreign banks setup in Myanmar, acted for the sponsor of an 800MUS$ urban infrastructure PPP project and worked on 6 out of 7 power deals inked in 2016.
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