The Ministry of Planning and Finance of Myanmar has issued on July 14, 2023 a Notification No. 50/2023 in order to grant customs protection of Intellectual Property rights to those owners who have registered their trademarks in accordance with the provisions of the New Trademark Law.

The Notification sets up a new customs trademark registration system which enables customs authorities to seize trademark infringing counterfeit goods arriving at their borders. To this end, it is essential that holders have previously registered their marks with customs, so that the authorities have sufficient information to easily identify when they are faced with a counterfeit product.

Trademark holders wishing to benefit from this system must submit the form required by the Customs Department. If the application is correctly completed and accepted by the Customs Department, the applicant will be issued with a registration number within 15 days of receipt of the application.

Once registration is granted, the brand holder will enjoy protection for two years, and the application may be renewed for a further two-year period, provided that this is done within 30 days prior to the expiry of the registration.
However, the brand holders are obliged to report any amendment or withdrawal of documentation or information to the Myanmar Intellectual Property Department and must submit all necessary documentation within 3 working days from the date of the amendment or withdrawal.

Apart from customs registration, the Notification also allows owners who have registered their trademarks under the Trade Marks Act 2019 to apply for a suspension order where they have reasonable grounds to believe that counterfeit goods bearing the distinctive sign owned by them have been or will be imported. To do so, they must submit a request for suspension in person, electronically or by post, and may do so either in English or Burmese.

Once the Customs Department has analyzed the application, it shall reply to the applicant as to whether it is admissible or inadmissible within 30 days of receipt. If the application is accepted, a period of five days will be granted to pay an amount – still to be determined – as a deposit. In the event of failure to comply with the aforementioned payment, the application made by the trade mark proprietor shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.

Notwithstanding the above, and bearing in mind that customs is one of the main entry routes for counterfeit products, securing the registration of trademarks at customs allows trademark owners to protect themselves from imports of counterfeit products bearing their trademarks.

Thus, through this innovative system, trademark owners can ensure the protection of their Intellectual Property rights at the borders of Myanmar, as the Customs Department, after assessing the customs registration of a trademark or the application for a suspension order, is empowered to remove from the economic traffic any goods whose counterfeit has been proved through this Cross Border Control System.

Ananda Intellectual Property will be pleased to provide you with more information about this new customs registration procedure in Myanmar or to advise you in relation to any other matter concerning the management of your Intellectual Property rights.

Author: Carolina Ibañez

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