IP laws reach final draft

Pirates beware: A law protecting intellectual property (IP) could soon be on the books after intensive discussions with local and international experts on copyright, trademarks and industrial design, officials said.

After 11 rounds of discussion and amendments, and with input from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Ministry of Science and Technology has a completed draft law.

The process began in 1998 when Myanmar joined the WIPO, but delays have occurred in ensuring compliance with international and ASEAN norms. It is only now, 15 years later, that the law is back on track.

“We already finished the final draft specifying crimes and penalties, and reported to the Attorney-General’s office earlier this month. We are now dealing with enforcement,” said Daw Tin Ohmar Tun, chair of the ASEAN Intellectual Property Organisation, who has been participating in the discussions.

“I think we can receive the final amendment from the Attorney-General’s office next month and maybe report to Parliament in January,” she told The Myanmar Times.

The law will cover copyright, trademarks and industrial design, said Daw Moe Moe Thew, deputy director general of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

An effective IP law could help attract foreign direct investment companies and create jobs, said U Thein Aung, an advocate and IP consultant.

“We need laws governing technological innovation and international copyright because most foreign investors are engaged in technology,” he said. “Otherwise, investors are afraid their products’ names and designs will be copied.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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