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Controlling Imports in Myanmar

After a period of noticeable inactivity, revised drafts of the trademark, design, patent, and copyright bills were submitted to parliament and consequently published for public review in late July and mid-August 2017, prompting speculation that the bills will be passed sooner rather than later.

Baker McKenzie maintains, however, that any estimate on when the new laws will be passed remains tentative at best, and even then, details concerning how these laws will actually be implemented are even more uncertain. All said, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around the new laws and relying on existing legal options that are currently in place may be the more prudent approach.

At the same time, anticipation amongst brand owners for new IP laws can perhaps be rivalled by the market’s own enthusiasm to try “new” products and services never before available in Myanmar. For many, these first impressions of a brand on eager consumers can make or break entry into the country.

Unfortunately, counterfeiters are in the race too, and the reality is that brand owners are not always the ones to break ground in Myanmar. When this happens, the customer experience can become muddled and the relationship confused such that it ultimately affects brand loyalty — hardly an ideal first impression in an emerging market.

It may therefore be worth considering having an import control strategy in place to protect future business prospects for companies who do not yet have a presence in Myanmar and safeguard existing relationships for those that do.

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