Myanmar IP laws update

Laws pass through the legislative process in Myanmar as follows:-

  1. Bills go to Upper House Bill Committee
  2. Bills go to Lower House Bill Committee
  3. Bill then goes back to Upper House Joint Committee for review
  4. Bill then goes to Assembly of Union for debate /approval of Bill
  5. Approved Bill then goes to President for signing to enact the Bill as a law within 14 days or receive comments, (thus a Bill may return to the Assembly with comments of the President within 14 days for further review)
  6. Bill goes to President again and whether or not the President agrees it, the President shall sign and Bill is enacted as law
  7. Notification is then be issued within a period of a few months to fix the date for the law to enters into force on the prescribed date in the Notification

If a Bill is not enacted as a law within 14 days from the date of receipt of the Bill at the President Office, it must be returned to the Assembly with the President’s comments.  

The Patent, Design and Trademark laws are now at stage 6; they are due to be signed into effect. However the challenge now lies in stage 7, because of the program of implementation required for registration based IP rules. Implementing rules, a new IP Office, the oversight committee and a physical move to the Ministry of Commerce all need to be planned and scheduled before the Notification can be issued. Once these laws have a date of entry into force, IP owners must be able to file their patents, designs and trademarks. Right now the implementation team is working with the Ministry of Commerce to create the plans to put everything in place so that the Notification can be issued.

Meanwhile the Copyright Bill is at stage 5. This law does not have mandatory registration of course, so it can take effect immediately. However there are concerns about how the law will apply to certain existing translations and music (which could be rendered infringing), and how the transition period will work. Potentially some debates need to be resolved before the President can sign it.