The ICT sector is considered to play a pivotal role in supporting regional integration and connectivity efforts between the countries in South-East Asia. The latest ASEAN ICT Industry Masterplan 2016-2020 aims to propel ASEAN towards a digitally-enabled economy that is secure, sustainable, and transformative and to enable an innovative, inclusive and integrated ASEAN Community. The ICT industry is one of the sectors presenting major business growth opportunities for EU SMEs in South-East Asia.
Country’s Background for European SMEs
Myanmar is an emerging market showing steady growth rates since the country set itself on a course of political liberalisation. Despite being one of the poorest ASEAN nations, the country’s economy grew at around 8.5% in the 2014/2015 fiscal year, with economic reforms bolstering consumer and investor confidence. The service sector was the main driver of growth thanks to expansions in telecommunications and transportation. Myanmar is an emerging economy with a GDP of $64.3 billion, which is attracting more and more foreign investments. Its 53.4 million strong population is mainly occupied in the agricultural sector. However, the garment and mining industries, as well as wood products also take up a significant part of the economy.
EU imports for Myanmar are dominated by the textile industry, accounting for nearly 80% in 2011, making it the 29th largest trading partner for the EU for clothing. Agricultural products also play a significant role in Myanmar’s exports to the EU. EU exports to Myanmar on the other hand are dominated by machinery and transport equipment. EU exports to Myanmar have risen steadily since its increasing political liberalisation.
In today’s blog post we are taking a look at the trade mark protection in Myanmar, a country that is in the process of modernizing its IP laws. Even though Myanmar has published a new Draft Trade Mark Law back in 2015, the law has still not yet come to force and in the meantime EU SMEs still need to protect their IP in Myanmar. This blog post offers some advice on how to protect your trade mark and the design of your package in Myanmar by focusing on a recent case study.
Trade Mark Regime in Myanmar
Compared to other South-East Asian countries, Myanmar currently has the weakest IP laws and regulations in place. Myanmar is not yet a signatory of any multilateral trade mark treaty. However, in accordance with the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) , to which it has acceded, Myanmar is required to implement and comply with Articles 1-12, Article 19 of the Paris Convention and the terms of TRIPS by no later than 1st July 2021. Myanmar is now in the process of drafting several IP laws
Currently, there is still neither a particular statute nor law on trade marks, nor specific provisions regarding the registration of trade marks in Myanmar. However, the Penal Code of Myanmar defines a trade mark as “a mark used for denoting that goods are the manufactured merchandise of a particular person”. Likewise, the Private Industrial Enterprise Law provides that “a business is not allowed to distribute or sell its goods without trademark”. At present, foreign companies doing business in Myanmar have been relying on these laws to enforce their IP rights relating to trade mark. Continue reading “Trade Mark Protection in Myanmar: A Case Study” »
Myanmar has taken its first real steps towards establishing a concrete system of protecting intellectual property rights (IPR). The country’s trade mark Law is now being drafted and reviewed, and is due to take effect during the first quarter of 2014. The Myanmar Intellectual Property Office will also be set up and will soon be able to accept and register applications for trade mark registration. Looking ahead, regional ASEAN IPR SME Helpdesk Expert Darani Vachanavuttivong suggests that these developments will assure foreign investors in the country that their brands will now receive trade mark protection in line with international standards. To read more about Darani’s commentary on Myanmar’s emerging IP regime and practical information about the registration process, click here.
In part one of this very mini series Your IP Insider investigated the challenges and opportunities for doing business in Myanmar. It’s here in case you missed it but today we’re revealing the key practical and intellectual property right (IPR) considerations for you as well as some conclusions….