On 10 March 2023, the State Administration Council issued Notification No. 82/2023, declaring 1 April 2023, as the effective date for the much-anticipated Trademark Law. Enacted in 2019, this law is set to bring a new era of trademark protection to the country, providing trademark owners with a well-structured registration process in line with international standards.
Despite the announcement, the authorities have not yet determined the cut-off date for the Soft Opening, nor have they fixed the Grand Opening date for the new registration system. During a seminar organized by the Intellectual Property Department (IPD) in Yangon on 8 and 9 March for trademark representatives, further steps were discussed, although no specific dates were set. These include the plan to release the Rules and Regulations governing the procedures under the new system, as well as upcoming phases, such as the payment of the official filing fee, the appointment of a representative, and eventually, the Grand Opening. It remains largely speculative when all these events will take place.
The official fee structure has yet to be formally announced, and the Appointment of Representative form, known as “TM-2,” is still under revision by the IPD. Some developments may be expected before the mid-April Myanmar New Year holidays.
Once the Rules and Regulations are announced, and the official fees are set, the IPD will commence “Phase II” of the Soft Opening. During this phase, trademark applicants who have already submitted their applications will be required to pay the official filing fee and submit the TM-2 form to facilitate the progression of their applications into the newly established registration system. For those who have not yet submitted applications, new filings can still be made, along with the payment of official fees and the appointment of a representative.
The Grand Opening is expected to take place in 2023, although its timing largely depends on how effectively the authorities can navigate Phase II of the Soft Opening, given the large number of applications filed to date. A heavy workload may cause delays.
It is advisable for trademark proprietors to file their marks without delay, as the duration of the Soft Opening period remains open-ended. All trademarks filed during this period will be officially recognized as having been filed on the first day of the new system. This recognition will be of significant importance under the upcoming legislation, as Myanmar transitions to the first-to-file principle.
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