Myanmar has been identified as a potential source of low-cost manufacturing since at least 2014. Unfortunately, a recent coup and the COVID crisis have threatened the country’s status as an emerging economy. Additionally, the country has a very unusual practice with respect to the protection of inventions that people who wish to take advantage of this market must be aware.
Myanmar is not a party to two of the most important international patent treaties, the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Moreover, the country does not appear to have a formal set of patent laws that are currently in force. As a result, foreign patent owners must engage in the practice of publishing “cautionary notices” to ward off potential infringers. These cautionary notices are often published in newspapers to let third parties know about intellectual-property (IP) rights that the publishing party may hold.
While cautionary notices represent a highly unusual practice, they do have certain advantages. Unlike patents, there is no time limit in which a party must act to publish their cautionary notice. Further, cautionary notices can be very cost-effective.
Myanmar enacted a formal set of patent laws in 2019. However, it does not appear that the laws have been implemented. Once that happens, it is possible that the practice of publishing cautionary notices will fade away.