Several general principles are important for the effective management of intellectual property (IP) rights in Burma. First, it is important for U.S. firms to have an overall strategy to protect their IP. Second, IP may be protected differently in Burma than in the United States. Third, rights must be registered and enforced in Burma under local laws, and U.S. trademark and patent registrations will not protect IP in Burma.
It is vital that companies understand that intellectual property is primarily a private right, and that the U.S. government cannot enforce rights for private individuals in Burma. It is the responsibility of the rights holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisors. Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Burmese law.
Under the Burmese Trademark Law (effective April 2023), trademark registration is a first-to-file system. Companies are required to file their trademark applications at the Intellectual Property Department (IPD), Ministry of Commerce.
It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential partners. A good partner is an important ally in protecting IP rights. Projects and sales efforts in Burma require constant attention.
It is also recommended that small- and medium-size companies understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IP and stop counterfeiting. There are a number of these organizations in both Burma and the United States. These include:
- Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
- International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
- International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
- International Trademark Association (INTA)
- National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
- The Coalition against Counterfeiting and Piracy
- The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM)
A wealth of information on protecting IP is freely available to U.S. rights holders. Resources for companies regarding intellectual property follow.
· For information about patent, trademark, or copyright issues — including enforcement issues in the US and other countries — call the STOP! Hotline at 1-866-999-HALT.
· For more information about how to evaluate, protect, and enforce intellectual property rights and how these rights may be important for businesses, please visit the “Resources” section at stopfakes.gov website..
· For more information about registering trademarks and patents (both in the United States. as well as in foreign countries), contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at 1-800-786-9199.For more information about registering for copyright protection in the United States, contact the U.S. Copyright Office at 1-202-707-5959.In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property.
· For background on these principles, please see the U.S. Department of Commerce’s articles on Intellectual Property Protection.
Visit the State Department’s Investment Climate Statements for information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in foreign economies.
For more information you may contact:
Regional IP Attaché for Southeast Asia
Mr. Matthew Kohner
U.S. Embassy Bangkok-U.S. Commercial Service