After almost a year of work and preparations to define the scope and the implementation of the new Law, contrary to expectations, the Myanmar authorities have decided to open a prior transitional period in which those parties that have recorded a Declaration of Ownership (DTO) at the Office of Registration of Deeds (ORD) may file their trademark within a preferential term of 6 months prior to the official opening of the Trademark Register. This term has been designated a “Soft Opening ” period and its purpose is to enable holders of recorded DTOs to try to obtain a certain degree of priority.
While there is no official opening date for the “Soft Opening” period and many issues remain with regard to this procedure (for example, the amounts of the official fees are not yet known and it is not known whether powers of attorney must be legalized up to the Consul), it is expected to open in January 2020. Assuming that this date is met and there are no delays, those trademark owners who are entitled to and wish to take advantage of the “Soft Opening” period, will have until July 2020 to file their trademarks, while the Register will officially open for any interested parties in July. Any holders of recorded DTOs who have not taken advantage of the “Soft Opening” period will lose this preferential option and will have to file for registration to obtain their trademark rights once the Register has officially opened in the second half of the year.
In light of the above, there are three possible scenarios:
- Trademark owners with recorded DTOs. These owners are entitled to file their trademarks in the Register during the “Soft Opening” period, upon payment of a fee and compliance with all the formal requirements to attest to their ownership.
- Trademark owners who do not hold a recorded DTO. They could, up to the end of December 2019, try to record a DTO before the “Soft Opening” period opens, with a view to subsequently filing the mark within that preferential period. To that end, it is necessary to pay an official fee and satisfy all the formal requirements.
- Those interested parties who, from the opening of the Myanmar Trademark Register in the second half of 2020, wish to file an ex novo trademark application without any prior preferential right, under the provisions of the new Law.
In light of the above, and bearing in mind the short period of time remaining before the opening of the “Soft Opening” period and that it may be necessary to have powers of attorney legalized up to the Consul, it would be advisable for those trademark owners with interests in Myanmar to seek urgent advice to evaluate the steps to be taken in each situation.
In case it may be of interest to you, we are attaching a link to earlier information on the new Law in Myanmar: “Myanmar: first to file trademark system“Author: Cristina Arroyo and Juan Miguel Sáinz de Marles
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