Sunday, April 7, 2013

Myanmar IP events and new laws

The ASEAN IP Association held its first IP conference in Myanmar this weekend. Dr Thwe from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) explained the latest on the creation of Myanmar's new IP laws.

The new laws covering trademarks (including GIs), patents, designs and copyright, are nearing completion. Since 2004 they have been through 7 drafts, with WIPO consultations under way now. For the Trademark Law this will culminate in another WIPO consultation in May and the expectation is that this law will pass by October.

The establishment of Myanmar IP office, probably with multiple sites in capital Napidaw, as well as the largest city Yangon (where newly invested businesses tend to headquarter) and perhaps the other major city of Mandalay is under way. Trademarks, GIs, designs, patents, utility models, even copyrights will be registrable.

The patent law contains exceptions for patents covering pharma and agrochemical products which will be delayed until Myanmar's LDC extension expires. Patent examination initially will be outsourced.

Copyright in more contentious. The MOST draft needs more work after WIPO input, so a new release is expected after May. A competing draft from the Ministry of Information was released, confusing matters. Further the Ministry of Information even set up a copyright registration office, the future of which is now unclear. A copyright association driven by local music and film industries is already active.

IP Komodo (long a Myanmar fan), is impressed by the government's eagerness and the conference was enjoyed by all.

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