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IP Background

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2. British Colonial Time

It is generally observed that the lower Burma had been annexed by British East India Company under the guidance of the then British government, to India Continent which was subjugated prior to Burma after the so-called second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852. Having occupied lower Burma along the Ayarwaddy river up to Thayet Myo in the middle part of Burma (Myanmar), Burmese had been encountered with a new administration initially imposed by the British. They also established a system of Judiciary and Acts or Laws which had been introduced formerly in India were adopted to replace the old laws of Burma. Adoption of Acts and Laws were continued after the annexation of Upper Burma and later till Burma attained independence from British in 1948.

3. Post Colonial Time

Since 1948, having become a free state among the family of nations a number of enactments have been made by the successive governments of Burma (Myanmar) in conformity with relevant time and conditions. Except some of the terms in context of almost all the substantive and procedural laws, introduced by British1 are still enforceable and in practice. Laws concerned with Intellectual Property are said to be among them. By this nature it can also be observed that we, the Burmese(Myanmar) people have been accustomed to the laws mostly introduced by the British for nearly one and half a century.


Legal Enforcement on I.P Infringement in Myanmar

As one of our leading jurists observed in the suit of John Walkers and Sons Ltd Vs. U Than Shwe2 that: “Adimittedly no Trade Marks Act has been promulgated in Burma up to the present moment."

It is remarkably recognized because since the time from the colonial days never has any specific or separate Act or Law merely concerned with Trade Mark been enacted. It is very much unlike to the countries which are leading the world of business. It will therefore be necessary to examine what the Laws on I.P were in our country through those period so that a correct solution can be reached over the question of maintainability or otherwise. Though there hasn’t any specific or separate Law as aforesaid, Burma (Myanmar) like many other countries has been taking counter measure on infringement on I.P by two means; namely (a) providing preventive laws partly in a statute or of separate statutes and (b) granting remedy or relief as an out come to aggrieved persons. In this paper we discuss seven statuary Laws concerning with I.P Of the seven, three are said to be interrelated.

Of Laws Concerning With I.P

(a) Penal Code of 1860

It is observed to be the earliest law concerned with I.P though it does provide as part of the Code on the matters of trade, property and other marks. It had been enacted as India Act No.45 and was later adopted in Burma. According to the date of enactment (1st day of May1861) it was nine years after the annexation of Lower Burma. Sections from 478 to 489 in Chapter 18 of this Code provide definitions of trade mark; property mark; using false marks and punishment for marking, using and possessing such marks etc.

The definition of a trademark in section 478 reads: “A mark used for denoting that goods are the manufacture or merchandise of a particular person is called a trade mark.”

1 substituted by Union of Burma Adaptations of Laws Order 1948
2 1968 Burma Law Reports pp. 73-87. Hon’ble Mr.Justice. U Thet Pe.

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