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06.07.2011 Myanmar Trademarks Trademark Protection and its enforcement in Myanmar U Nyunt Tin Associates Intellectual Property Law Firm U Nyunt Tin Associates Intellectual Property Law Firm


The Legal system of Myanmar is a unique system that has it’s root’s in the English Common Law Legal System. In the current condition, Myanmar has no IP Laws. However, it does not mean that IP rights are unprotectable at all now in Myanmar. General laws such as Penal Code and some civil laws ensure for protection of the rights of proprietor of the trademark with effective remedies.

In Myanmar, as domestic legislations, IP rights are protectable under the following existing laws:

- Myanmar Penal Code ( 1860 )
- The Myanmar Merchandise Marks Act ( 1889 )
- The Registration Act ( 1908 )
- The Specific Relief Act ( 1877)
- The Sea Customs Act ( 1878 )
- Private Industrial Enterprise Law ( 1990 )
- Control of Money Laundering Law ( 2002 )

In Myanmar, trademark rights are protected under Section 54 of Specific Relief Act, 1877 and Common Law. If an ownership can establish and show the burden of proof that he is the first real inventor and user of the trademark, he can take both criminal and civil actions against any infringers. An action for infringement of the trademark is maintainable by means of a civil suit under section 54 of this Act that authorizes the court of law to grant a perpetual injunction against the infringer.

In addition to the civil litigation, criminal action under the Penal Code also is possible against a person using false trademark or counterfeiting a trademark, or making or possessing any instrument for counterfeiting a trademark or selling goods marked with a counterfeiting trademark, respectively under section 482, 483, 485 and 486 of the said Code. Punishments range from fine to three years imprisonment additionally by a court order of seizure and destruction of infringing articles and goods.


In addition, the decisions of the highest court in different area stand as Case Law in respect of trademark matters.

The practice in Myanmar regarding the Trademark, at the present is:-

1. Registration of the Ownership of the Trademark with the Registrar of Deeds and Assurances.
2. Issue of Cautionary Notice in the local newspaper/ weekly issue journals.
3. And then, renewal of registration and fresh cautionary notice periodically, i.e every three years.

It is possible for a proprietor to register his trademark by means of a “Declaration of Ownership of Trademark” with the Office of Registrar of Deeds and Assurances under the Direction No. 13 of the Inspector General of Registration. In addition to the general provisions of the Registration Act, the Direction still stands as the sole authority on defining particular procedure and method of trademark registration.

The most effective way to establish the ownership of a trademark is by advertisement, registration, and putting the goods bearing the mark on local market. The registration is not compulsory but registration may constitute Prima Facie Evidence for the proprietor in a criminal or civil proceeding against an infringer. According to the previous ruling here, in case of trademark matter in Myanmar, an owner of a trademark in respect of a particular commodity has no right to prohibit or prevent other person from the use of such mark in connection with goods of a totally different character and class.

In Myanmar, registration of trademark are done under general registration law ( the Registration Act ). And also, should any material changes as such of proprietor’s name, device, address or covered goods/services to the registered mark occur, it can be registered afresh or be followed up with recordal of amendment.

After the registration is completed, publication of Cautionary Notice in the local newspapers or weekly issued journals is usually followed in order to have a strong protection of mark and make known the public the ownership of mark and warning any possible infringer or passing off. Publication of Cautionary Notice also constitutes circumstantial evidence in favour of the proprietor in case of infringement.

By;
U Nyunt Tin Associates Intellectual Property Law Firm
,
Member of UNT Law Group
Yangon - Bangkok - Mandalay - Maesot


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