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IP & Technology Law

Intellectual Property Laws needed to attract Fresh Foreign Investment

Date: 24 August 2017; Type: Legal News; Source: Myanmar Times

Four laws related to protecting intellectual property (IP) are expected to be enacted soon to attract more foreign investment into Myanmar, especially from Japan, said Mr. Hiro Yamaoka, managing director of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). “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”, he said.

Draft laws pertaining to trademark, patent, copyright and design rights have been sent to the National Parliament for approval. The drafts were written during the previous administration under U Thein Sein in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Ministry of Education and the former Ministry of Science and Technology.

It is not just investors who will benefit once the laws are approved. “To draw more foreign investment and promote more creativity, clear IP laws are needed. But living standards will also improve as consumers can enjoy genuine, good-quality products that can be distinguished easily from fake products. Moreover, after enacting IP laws, the government can effectively prohibit the illegal trade and raise its tax revenue,” Mr Yamaoka said.

Myanmar is the last country to enact IP laws among the ten ASEAN countries. Its neighbouring countries have already enacted IP laws decades ago, said Mr. Satoshi Shimoda, director of JETRO Yangon.

Currently, action can be taken against fake products under section 186, section 486 and section 18 of the Constituion.  The customs department can also confiscated fake products and arrest illegal distributors under section 18, said U Myint Lwin, partner at U Myint Lwin Law Office.

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