2019 03 December

Myanmar Legal Update: Upcoming Online Trademark Registration Portal & Corporate Secretarial Services in Myanmar

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Online Trademark Registration Portal in Myanmar

A seminar on the forthcoming online trademark registration system will take place during the first week of December organized by the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Commerce (“Ministry”). It appears that through this seminar, the Ministry intends to introduce the new online trademark filing system and explain the necessary procedures related to it.

On 30 January 2019, the Trademark Law was published. However, this Law is not yet in force as the President must first issue a notification to this effect (still pending). Before the Trademark Law was published, ownership of trademark otherwise known as “Declarations of Ownership of Trademark” were recorded via the manual filing system at the Office of Registration of Deeds (“ORD”) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation in accordance with the Directive No.13 of the Registration Act 1909. Those with previously registered trademarks must re-register and record them via the new online trademark filing system once the Trademark Law comes into force. They will be given priority to register the trademark within the transitional period (which we assume will be six months).

Once the Trademark Law comes into force, the regulatory body will formulate the procedures and structure the application process. From contacting the concerned Ministry, they indicated that they will publish updated information on the Ministry’s website (tentatively in 2020). There is still ongoing discussion with the different ministries in regard to this Trademark Law and its enforcement and other Intellectual Property Laws such as the Copyright Law, Industrial Design Law and Patent Law.

However, we have been informed that there will be two intellectual property offices in Myanmar – one in Yangon and the other in Nay Pyi Taw. A soft-opening of the trademark registration office (“Office”) will take place in the near future (we assume early January 2020). It will accept re-registrations of existing trademark applications and old marks which are currently used in the market. During the soft-opening phase, the Office will only accept re-registration applications and will not examine any for execution. The date of these filings will be identified as the first day of the Office’s grand-opening. Moreover, a six months’ grace period from the end of the soft-opening phase will be provided to individuals who fail to re-register their mark during the soft- opening phase. Nonetheless, such individuals will still have to pay a late filing fee. The grand opening is tentatively scheduled to begin in the third or fourth quarter of 2020. Applications to register new marks will also be allowed during this period. 

Re-registration and registration fees will be calculated using the automated fee calculator for each mark/class before being uploaded to the online trademark registration system. Individual applicants can submit re-registration applications using the manual filing system one month in advance of the grand-opening.

During this interval, the Ministry recommends that existing trademark owners arrange the following documents:

  1. Declaration of Ownership registered with the ORD;
  2. Date of first use and evidence of use of the mark in Myanmar;
  3. Details of the Proprietor (name, address, country/jurisdiction of incorporation); and
  4. Specification of goods and services.  

New entrants who wish to register marks must prepare a request letter for registration which includes name and address of the person or corporate information that will appear on the application, name and address of its representative, clear and complete descriptions of the mark(s), and the name and class of the goods or services in accordance with international classifications under the new Trademark Law requirements.

DFDL stands ready to assist in ensuring that you stay in full compliance with the new Trademark Law, that transitioning to the new legislative requirements will be as seamless as possible, and with minimal impact to your activities in Myanmar.

Corporate Secretarial Services Update in Myanmar

On 15 November 2019, Directive No.17/2019 was issued by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (“DICA”) regarding disclosure of Information on beneficial ownership, which will take effect from 1 January 2020. The primary objective of this Directive is to establish the actual ownership of a legal entity or an arrangement (in the form of a trust or similar arrangement), and also to combat tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The full client alert can be read here.

In addition, DICA issued Notification 84/2019 on 20 September 2019, regarding Amended Prescribed Fees and Late Lodgement Fees under the Myanmar Companies Law 2017 and came into effect on 1 October 2019.

The significant changes concern prescribed fees in schedule one:

  1. Registration fees were reduced from MMK 250,000 to 150,000 for companies limited by shares, companies limited by guarantee, unlimited companies, private companies limited by shares under the Special Companies Act, and overseas corporations.
  2. Registration fees were increased from MMK 20,000 to 50,000 to lodge annual returns for domestic companies and overseas corporations.

With the entry into force of the Amended Myanmar Companies Law on 1 August 2018 and the Myanmar Companies Online Platform (“MyCO”), companies are now subject to various new rules and requirements in order to lawfully conduct their business in the country.

DFDL stands ready to assist in ensuring that you stay in full compliance with the new law, that transitioning to the new legislative requirements will be seamless as possible, and with minimal impact to your activities in Myanmar. The services that we offer include day-to-day corporate secretarial duties, ensuring corporate compliance with the new law, and assistance with statutory filing obligations.

DFDL Corporate Services

Services overview
Registration
  • Registration of company/entity
Corporate secretarial services
  • Alteration of constitution
  • Change of company name
  • Change of company type
  • Change to share capital or the register of members (change in members, share capital, share allotment, share transfers)
  • Notice of/reduction in share capital
  • Notice of/resolution concerning share buy-backs
  • Notice of/ variation or cancellation of rights
  • Notice of/remuneration or other benefits
  • Notice of location of company registers and indexes
  • Change of registered office or principal place of business
  • Appointment and cessation of directors and secretaries
  • Preparation of annual general meeting documents
  • Minutes of extraordinary meeting/special resolution
  • Annual returns
  • Issuance of share certificates
  • Arrangement of bank account opening
  • Provision of registered address service
  • Maintenance of corporate registers and records
Registration of securities
  • Registration of mortgages or charges
  • Registration of mortgages of charges over property acquired by companies
  • Modification of particulars of mortgages or charges
Requesting certified copies from DICA
  • Request certified copies of certificates
  • Request copies of forms and documents filed with the Registrar
  • Request company extracts
Winding up/ De-registration
  • Winding up of a company/entity De-registration of overseas corporations

The information provided in this email is for information purposes only, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.


DFDL Authors

Nishant Choudhary

Deputy Managing Director

Head of Banking & Finance Practice

DFDL Myanmar

nishant.choudhary@dfdl.com

Kyi Nyein Chan

Legal Adviser

DFDL Myanmar

kyinyeinchan@dfdl.com

DFDL Contact

William Greenlee

Partner & Managing Director

DFDL Myanmar

william.greenlee@dfdl.com


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