Myanmar establishes guidelines for the new registration requirements for ecommerce
10 November 2023
Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has recently issued ecommerce guidelines to secure the country’s ecommerce ecosystem, promote ethical business practices and protect consumer rights. These guidelines are in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations in the field of ecommerce.
The MOC recently announced that ecommerce business operators can register starting October 2, 2023. The registration fees are waived until December 31, 2023, and only online fees must be paid. However, beyond this deadline, application fees and registration fees (yet to be announced) payment will be required. Starting January 1, 2024, the MOC will take action against unregistered ecommerce businesses under the Essential Supplies and Services Law.
“To perform ecommerce activities legally and systematically in Myanmar, individuals, companies and business organizations that would like to conduct ecommerce activities can learn about the necessary legal compliance steps by reading the guidelines,” said Yuwadee Thean-ngarm, a partner and director at Tilleke & Gibbins in Yangon.
According to her, the guidelines have 18 chapters addressing various aspects of ecommerce, including the protection of ecommerce consumers and IP online, electronic contracts, online payment terms and the basic principles of protecting privacy and personal data.
Thean-ngarm added that the relationship between ecommerce sellers and buyers is subject to the guidelines and other related laws and regulations. This includes the Contract Act 1872, the Sale of Goods Act 1930, Electronic Transaction Law 2004, Competition Law 2015, Myanmar Companies Law 2017, Consumer Protection Law 2019, Trademark Law 2019, Copyright Law 2019, Industrial Design Law 2019, Patent Law 2019, Myanmar Investment Law 2016 and more.
Currently, the Trademark Law 2019 is the only IP law in Myanmar that is force as of April 1, 2023. The Copyright Law, Industrial Design Law and Patent Law are expected to be enforced in the future, with no specific dates yet.
Khin Pearl Yuki Aung, Thean-ngarm’s colleague and a consultant at the same firm, said that the new guidelines emphasized online enforcement of IP rights against IP infringement in Myanmar. Before the guidelines, existing laws in Myanmar did not clearly stipulate protection and enforcement of IP online, she noted. However, with the introduction of the guidelines, IP infringement on ecommerce platforms is strictly prohibited.
“In addition, ecommerce business operators are urged to collaborate in preventing IP infringement on their platforms and take enforcement actions, such as informing the IP owner and implementing takedown mechanisms, which will help in collecting online evidence regarding IP infringement,” she added.
Further, the guidelines state that the registration, licensing and enforcement of IP rights must be carried out in accordance with existing IP laws, highlighting a comprehensive approach to the protection of IP in both offline and online settings. “Notably, the enforcement mechanisms of ecommerce registration and IP registration are carried out by different authorities. The former is performed by the DOT, while the latter is under the control of the Intellectual Property Department (IPD),” explained Aung.
This underscores that importance of collaboration between different authorities to protect IP, especially in connection with online infringement. Accordingly, online business environments will be subject to both the guidelines and the country’s IP laws.
“In light of this, we strongly encourage our clients to obtain both registration of intellectual property and an ecommerce certificate from the relevant authority to achieve full statutory protection over their business,” she said.
Khin Yadanar Htay, an associate at the same firm, added: “Initially, we expect that the guidelines will help ensure that ecommerce activities are performed legally and systematically in Myanmar. Most importantly, the guidelines will play an important role in the systematic development of ecommerce in Myanmar by encouraging organized selling, buying and marketing for online businesses; transparency in ecommerce platforms through mechanisms, such as access and verification; modernization of the online platforms; monitoring of online sellers and buyers for IP infringement and disputes; protection of consumers online in collaboration with the government authorities; and takedowns of online IP infringement. We believe that these developments will bring benefits to both consumers and businesses.”
- Excel V. Dyquiangco