Customs recordation in Myanmar fights trade in counterfeit goods
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Customs recordation in Myanmar fights trade in counterfeit goods

Sponsored by

Real and fake conceptual

The Myanmar Customs Department (MCD) organised another Intellectual Property Awareness and Product Identification Workshop at its Customs Training School in Yangon on August 6 2020, for its frontline customs officers. Such workshops are held several times every year, serving as a platform for foreign brand owners and their local representatives to educate and update the enforcement officers on methods for differentiating their genuine products from counterfeits and imitations when inspecting suspicious shipments at ports of entry into the country. The training sessions are also useful in encouraging collaborative discourse between the private and public sectors to improve the efficiency of their joint intellectual property rights enforcement efforts.

Customs recordation system in Myanmar

Despite the absence of specific laws or written guidelines enumerating the procedure and framework for recordation of trademarks, the MCD does have a customs recordation system in place. The MCD is empowered under the archaic Sea Customs Act 1878 (as amended up to 2015) to seize counterfeit goods entering Myanmar by land or sea. Under Section 18 of the act, goods bearing counterfeit trademarks and false trade descriptions are prohibited from entry into Myanmar.

Brand owners who have recorded trademarks at the Office of Registration of Deeds can record these marks at the MCD by supplying the following:

  • application letter;

  • distribution agreement or supply agreement with local distributor or partner;

  • declaration of ownership of trademark;

  • cautionary notice published in Myanmar newspapers;

  • date of first use in Myanmar and outside of Myanmar;

  • description of product;

  • trademark specimen;

  • brief identification guide of counterfeit/imitation goods and original goods; and

  • any other documents or information requested by the MCD.

If there are no complications, the recordation procedure can be completed in approximately two to four weeks. Upon recordation, it is also good practice for brand owners to organise product identification training sessions with customs officials. Thereafter, the MCD will identify infringing goods that arrive at the ports of entry throughout the country, and will notify brand owners or their representatives before taking further legal and enforcement actions.

New border control measures

It is still unclear whether the customs recordation system will be maintained when Myanmar's new Trademark Law 2019 enters into force in the near future. Under this law, a customs seizure order procedure will be implemented whereby rights holders can submit an application to the director general of the MCD to seize infringing goods. Corresponding provisions are also found in the Copyright Law 2019.

In the procedure stipulated under the law, rights holders may submit an application, and the MCD will issue its decision within 30 days. The MCD may request additional information from the rights holder, who will have 15 business days to fulfil such a request. When accepting an application for seizure, the MCD may also request the rights holder to provide a guarantee. Each seizure order will last for six months, unless the rights holder requests a shorter period. Upon the seizure of suspicious items, the rights holder and the importer will have an opportunity to inspect the items and take further action on the shipment. If no further legal action is undertaken within 15 days (three days for perishable goods), the seized goods will be released.

Customs recordation as part of an IP protection strategy

Customs recordation in Myanmar can be a valuable and powerful tool in fighting the trade in counterfeit goods. It broadens the scope of IP rights protection from one only focused internally to one that considers international movement of goods. By involving the right representatives and officials in Myanmar, rights holders can ensure that their IP management strategy is ready to respond to threats from both within Myanmar and beyond.


Sher Hann Chua

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

External counsel for automotive companies explain how trends such as AI and vehicle connectivity are affecting their practices and reveal what their clients are prioritising
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The winners of the awards will be revealed at a gala dinner in New York City on April 25
Counsel debate the potential outcome of SCOTUS’s latest copyright case after justices questioned whether they should dismiss it
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer about their life and career
The small Düsseldorf firm is making a big impact in the UPC. Founding partner Christof Augenstein explains why
The court criticised Oppo’s attempts to delay proceedings and imposed a penalty, adding that the Chinese company may need to pay more if the trial isn’t concluded this year
Miguel Hernandez explains how he secured victory for baby care company Naterra in his first oral argument before the Federal Circuit
The UPC judges are wrong – restricting access to court documents, and making parties appoint a lawyer only to have a chance of seeing them, is madness
The group, which includes the Volkswagen, Seat and Audi brands, is now licensed to use SEPs owned by more than 60 patent owners
Gift this article