After almost one year of enactment of the Myanmar Trademark Law 2019 (for our previous article about the law, please see here, the Ministry of Commerce (“MOC”) has brought implementation of the law on schedule. A draft regulation of the Trademark Law has been circulated for comments, and the MOC is testing the new on-line filing systems for trademark registration. In light of the recent meetings held by MOC to introduce the new online filing system, it is contemplated that all existing trademarks that have been registered previously with the Office of Registration of Deeds (“ORD”) should be re-registered under the new system.
In implementing the said online system and re-registration, the new Myanmar Intellectual Property Office tentatively plans to launch a soft opening period when it will only accept applications for trademarks that have already been registered with the ORD before. The exact commencement date and length of the soft opening period is not yet confirmed, but it is expected to be starting in January 2020. This means, trademarks that are registered during this soft opening period will be able to claim priority rights according to their previous ORD registrations. Although it is not clear whether the priority rights of any ORD-unregistered trademark will be absolutely extinguished if a trademark owner misses this “window period” to claim priority rights, this is obviously not a risk to take considering the “first to file” regime under the Trademark Law.
Therefore, it is important that trademark owners should register their trademarks with the ORD as early as possible so that they can enjoy the “early bird” benefits during the tentative soft opening period.