Myanmar’s new Patent Law was enacted on March 11, 2019. This is the first legislation in the history of Myanmar to specifically address the issue of patent protection. The Law will be administered by the Directorate of Patents at the Intellectual Property Office, established under the Ministry of Commerce. Proper implementing regulations are not yet issued and will be issued in due course.
The new Patent Law introduces among others, a Registrar, a Department for the registration and recordable of patent rights, and examiners for the administration and carrying out of specific functions and duties related to patents, and executing other IP-related duties.
Some of the most notable features of the law include the following:
Currently, a patent is registerable under section 18(f) of the Registry Act and can be protected by filing a declaration of ownership under the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, with the Myanmar Registry Office for Deeds and Assurances. Except ensuring that application is in compliance with the Registration Act, there is no formality test, opposition or publishing in a patent journal.
In order to avoid any possible passing-off and infringement of the rights over the patent, the patent holder can publish a Cautionary Notice disclosing basic information about the patented invention in a local newspaper. This publication of patent is not mandatory however, it is strongly recommended as there is no patent search mechanism in Myanmar.
The current procedure for renewal of registration of patents is usually once in every three-year by way of re-registration in the form of Declaration or re-publication in the local daily newspapers; or both.
Myanmar is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a member of World Trade Organisation (WTO), a signatory to TRIPS Agreement. Myanmar has agreed to conform to the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement by 2021. In order to encourage technological progress and foreign investment and industrial growth in the region, the draft plan of Myanmar’s new Patent Law aims to set up the required legal framework for intellectual property rights in Burma.
The Myanmar government has started drafting the Intellectual Property Law in line with such Agreement since 2004. This draft has been repeatedly amended and has not yet been finalized and adopted.