On 3 June 2020, Myanmar’s Central Committee for Intellectual Property (CCIP) convened for the first time at the Ministry of Commerce in Nay Pyi Taw, with Vice President Henry Van Thio as committee chairman.
As you know, Myanmar’s new Intellectual Property Laws – Trademark Law, Patent Law, Industrial Design Law and Copyright Law – were enacted in 2019. Initially, under the purview of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Commerce is now the focal ministry to implement the IP laws.
At present, the Myanmar IP Department (under the Ministry of Education’s Department of Research and Innovation) together with the Ministry of Commerce, are working to draft the rules, regulations and directives needed to enforce the IP laws. Training programmes are also underway to develop skilled and qualified staff for the future IP Office.
During the meeting, the Vice President stated that “the IP laws need to be implemented swiftly as Myanmar is part of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint and needs to cooperate with other member nations in these sectors.” He added, “although Myanmar is given a grace period to implement provisions in the TRIPS Agreement until 1 July 2021, implementation needs to get the mechanism going.” He reiterated that plans to implement each of the laws in succession rather than all at once would “mitigate the challenges faced, expending of human resources, and technological shortcomings.”
Additional matters discussed at the meeting were on processes to be completed prior to the implementation of the IP laws, the formation of the IP agency and department, and the duties of the respective ministries in implementing the IP laws. The official website of the Department of Intellectual Property was also introduced at the meeting.
These developments are promising indeed as they indicate that despite the COVID-19 setback, steps are still being taken to ensure that Myanmar doesn’t get left behind on the IP playing field. Companies who intend to file their trademark under the new trademark law are urged to standby for the soft opening (which allows pre-existing trademark registrations to be re-registered), where WIPO’s IPAS (Industrial Property Administration System) platform will be used to process these registrations online. We will keep you updated on any announcements as soon as we have them. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.