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Patent Rights in Myanmar: Protection, Boundaries, and Possibilities


In the intricate landscape of intellectual property, patent rights serve as a bedrock for safeguarding innovations and fostering creativity. Myanmar’s patent system, aligned with international standards, provides a comprehensive framework that defines the scope, limitations, and opportunities surrounding patent rights. This article delves into the essence of patent rights in Myanmar, illuminating the exclusive privileges they confer to patentees, delineating exceptions, and exploring avenues for exercising these rights. Illustrative examples further underscore the significance of patent rights in real-world scenarios.

The Essence of Patent Rights

At the heart of Myanmar’s patent regime lies the notion of patent rights. A patentee, the individual or entity granted a patent, enjoys a spectrum of exclusive rights that are paramount during the patent’s term, which typically spans 20 years from the date of application submission. These rights empower the patentee to exert control over the patented invention and its utilization.

Example: Thomas, an inventor in Myanmar, secures a patent for a groundbreaking renewable energy device. For the next two decades, he holds the exclusive authority to determine the product’s production, sale, and import, positioning him as the sole gatekeeper of his innovation’s commercialization.

Exclusive Rights: The Core Tenets

Myanmar’s patent law extends robust protection through a set of exclusive rights accorded to patentees, reinforcing their ability to wield influence over their inventions. These rights encompass:

Product-Based Rights: Patentees possess the prerogative to prohibit unauthorized activities involving their patented product. This includes preventing others from manufacturing, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing the patented product without their approval.

Process-Based Rights: Patentees have the authority to restrict the use of their patented production process. Additionally, they can prevent others from undertaking actions similar to those covered under product-based rights using a product produced through their patented process.

Example: Elena, a patentee in Myanmar, invents a revolutionary medical diagnostic device. Her exclusive rights empower her to prevent any other entity from manufacturing, selling, or importing the device without her explicit consent, ensuring that her inventive creation remains under her control.

Civil Action Against Infringement

The patentee’s position of authority is fortified by the ability to initiate civil action against those who infringe upon their patent rights. This legal recourse ensures that patentees can seek redress and remedy in cases of unauthorized utilization of their patented inventions.

Example: Michael, an entrepreneur, discovers that a rival company is producing and selling a product that remarkably resembles his patented invention. Armed with the ability to pursue civil action, Michael can initiate legal proceedings against the infringing company to protect his patent rights and seek appropriate remedies.

Transference and Licensing of Patent Rights

Myanmar’s patent law opens avenues for patentees to expand their impact beyond individual control. A patentee possesses the autonomy to transfer their patent rights to another entity or grant licenses to third parties. This provision fosters collaboration, innovation, and the effective dissemination of inventive technologies.

Example: Sophia, a forward-thinking inventor, decides to collaborate with a research institute to further develop her patented agricultural method. By granting a license to the institute, she enables them to leverage her invention’s potential while retaining ownership of the patent.

Exceptions to Patent Rights

While patent rights bestow a spectrum of privileges, certain exceptions exist to balance protection with public interests. These exceptions include non-commercial or individual use of a patented invention, research and experimentation, and utilization within specific contexts such as transportation and compliance with legal requirements.

Example: Alex, an amateur inventor, utilizes a patented agricultural tool for personal gardening, falling within the ambit of non-commercial use. This usage does not infringe upon the patent rights and is considered an exception under Myanmar’s patent law.

Shared Patent Ownership

In scenarios where multiple individuals jointly own a patent without a pre-existing agreement, Myanmar’s patent law outlines a framework to manage patent rights. Each co-patentee retains the right to transfer, license, or enforce patent rights, ensuring a structured approach even in the absence of a formal agreement.

A bottom line

Myanmar’s patent rights weave a complex tapestry of privileges, responsibilities, and opportunities for inventors and patentees. This intricate framework fosters innovation, collaboration, and protection, ultimately driving the evolution of intellectual property in the nation. As Myanmar’s innovation ecosystem continues to flourish, a nuanced understanding of patent rights remains an essential pillar, aligning with global standards while catering to the unique dynamics of the nation.

By Nguyen Vu QUAN

Partner & IP Attorney

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