Saturday, December 8, 2012

Protection of Geographical Indications in Myanmar : soon a registration system in place

Wine market in Myanmar
Myanmar has been making wines since the 1950s. The total area under grapes is about 700 ha (approximately the same as the Alba wine region in Italy) . Currently, there are two major producers in this region, both located in the Southern Shan States near the Inle Lake. Red Mountain Estate started operations in 2002 when French winemaker Francois Raynal joined the team. Its older neighbour, Myanmar Vineyard was founded in 1997 and produced their wines under the cuvee Aythaya, led by a German winemaking team. Myanmar Vineyard is owned by German native Bert Morsbach.

Protection of geographical indications

The Ministry for Science and Technology of Myanmar (MOSTE) is currently working on a draft Trade Mark Law which includes provisions on the protection of geographical indications. The draft law provides a mechanism for the registration of geographical indications. Geographical indications eligible for protection include both local and foreign geographical indications covering not only agricultural products but also handicrafts.

The new law is due to enter into force in July 2013. Until this, geographical indications can be protected based on their prior use in Myanmar or prior recordation with the Registry of Deeds and Assurance. For instance, "Champagne" has been recorded with this Registry.

On November 28 and 29, 2012 I've attended a roundtable with the MOSTE, Attorney General Office of Myanmar and INTA (International Trade Mark Association) in the capital city of Myanmar Naypyidaw to review the draft Trade Mark Law including reviewing the provisions pertaining to Geographical Indications. It was very encouraging to discover that Myanmar looks at geographical indications seriously and considers to put into place a proper system to protect them. I will keep our Blog's readers updated on progress made.

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