Changes to Intellectual Property laws underway

In a bid to encourage more foreign investment into Myanmar, there are soon to be changes to the country’s four intellectual property (IP) laws.

It’s hoped that the enactment of the new laws will particularly benefit the country in terms of increased investment from Japan.

Japan firmly behind changes

Mr Hiro Yamaoka, managing director of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETO) is encouraging of the changes to the laws. He says: “Enacting proper IP laws is fundamental and urgently required to attract Japanese businesses to invest in Myanmar. Some investors are afraid to invest here because the government has not enacted any IP-related laws until now.”

The National Parliament is currently considering draft laws covering patent, copyright, design and trademarks. The drafts were constructed during the previous government under U Thein Sein, and were written alongside the Japan International Co-operation Agency, the former Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education.

Everyone will benefit

When the laws have been approved and put into legislation, it’s not just investors that will benefit.

It’s hoped that the new legislation will help promote creativity within Myanmar. Living standards will also improve for many people, as consumers will be able to buy and enjoy genuine, quality products rather than fake products that have historically flooded the market.

The laws will also help the government to effectively put a stop to illegal trade in goods, and therefore increase its tax revenue.

Help stamp out illegal products

Mynamar is the last of the ten ASEAN countries to enact IP laws. Neighbouring countries brought IP law into effect many years ago. At the moment, action can be taken against selling fake products under various sections of the Constitution.

While the customs department can also confiscate fake products and arrest those distributing them illegally, there is no doubt that increased legislation surrounding IP, trade marks and patents will help counter this problem.

Htet Tayza 

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