Time to Re-examine Your Intellectual Property Strategy in Thailand

Over the last three years there have been sweeping changes to Intellectual Property Law in Thailand but what does that mean for business?

Never in the history of Thailand have the conditions been more favorable for genuine rights holders. The current government has fully embraced intellectual property as a key economic driver, and has formulated its policies to improve the IP landscape from end to end in the Kingdom to woo foreign investment by promoting Thailand as a safe market for IP. These efforts are championed by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers themselves, who chair the intellectual property committees, so the initiatives and impetus are coming from the top of the country’s executive branch. Which carries an enormous amount of weight in Thailand. We hope the momentum will continue once democracy returns to the Kingdom. Highlights include:

  • The Business Security Act is enacted – Effective July 2, 2016
  • Amendments to the Trademark Act – Effective July 28, 201
  • Accession to the Madrid Protocol – Effective Nov. 7, 2017
  • Thailand Removed from US Priority Watch List for IP, Dec. 15, 2017
  • Thai Patent Office quadruples its permanent staff from 25 to 95 examiners, and hires many temporary examiners to speed up examination times and reduce backlogs
  • The Trademark Office also greatly increased staff at the same time although trademark timelines are not really an issue in the Kingdom, there are some backlogs in the appeals process
  • Sweeping changes in internal regulations at both the Thai Trademark and Patent Offices in direct response to Prime Ministers direction to speed up application times through more efficient internal processes, 2017
  • Amendments to the Patent Act – Ongoing, expected to take effect early 2019
  • Amendments to the Copyright Act –takes effect 120 days from Nov. 11, 2018.

Changes were made with the intent that the Kingdom will accede to the Marrakesh Treaty in the near future

  • Cabinet has approved accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty, it is now before the legislative assembly
  • COPTICS opens giving a route for rapid blocking of infringing websites

Most larger companies have already registered their rights as a simple preventative measure but many leave it at that considering the market too problematic to pursue enforcement of all but the most blatant infringement. We need more companies to reconsider their position on this to truly stamp out infringement in Thailand or at least relegate it to the back alleys not blatantly condoned in full public view. The time to enforce is now, the government is fully behind it and never has been as easy to enforce. 

SMEs on the other hand often leave it until they have a problem which is absolutely the wrong way to do things. The registration of rights in the Kingdom is very cost effective and greatly reduces legal costs should legal issues arise. Coming to us after the cow has been stolen from the farm and asking us to chase it down and recover it will cost vastly more than if you built a fence in the first place.

Trademark and Patent infringement are criminal offences in the Kingdom. Trademark enforcement is very easy, patent is a little trickier as local enforcement may have difficulty understanding the differences or similarities in highly complex patent matters, however Trademark law can sometimes be relied upon to bridge the gap. Trademark is integral to your overall enforcement strategy. 

If you have any questions related to any intellectual property matter in Thailand or the surrounding countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam or think it’s time to rethink your IP strategy in the Kingdom please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


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