Intellectual Property Rights (IP) is the set of legal rights that protect the intellectual property of individuals and businesses. The rights include patents, trademarks and copyrights.
Thailand has a well-developed system for protecting and enforcing the rights of IP owners, including the granting of patents, the registration of trademarks and the protection of certain types of copyrighted works. In addition, Thailand is a member of several international conventions and treaties that provide protection for some types of IP.
The Thai government is committed to the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, and a number of efforts have been implemented in recent years. For example, the launch of the National IPR Centre of Enforcement and the initiation of an IP database to keep track of infringement cases and court decisions have improved the effectiveness of enforcement.
It is important for companies to register or apply for their intellectual property rights in Thailand before importing and exporting products into the country. These rights, once registered, can be used as evidence against potential infringement of those rights and can help companies avoid costly litigation in the future.
Obtaining a patent and product design in Thailand involves filing an application for both with the Thai Patent Office and the Design Office. These applications must be filed in the jurisdiction where the invention or product was first made and can only be accepted if it meets certain requirements, such as novelty.
In a licensing agreement, the licensee may be able to use your patent and/or design without restriction. However, if you intend to create improvements or derivatives, these must be agreed upon in the terms of the license. This may be complicated and time-consuming, so it is recommended to consult with a lawyer who is familiar with Thai patent and licensing law.
Licensing of Patents and Designs in Thailand is generally governed by the Thailand Trademark Act 1991 (Sections 68-79) and Ministerial Regulations under the Civil and Commercial Code. Generally, the parties are free to agree on any terms they wish, as long as those terms do not conflict with the law, public order or morals and are not contrary to the interests of the government.
The underlying goal of the licensing process is to encourage innovation and protect intellectual property owners. Therefore, if the licensed technology is incorporated into the licensee’s products, the owner may be able to claim ownership of those improvements and derivatives.
While the judicial and administrative systems in Thailand are improving, the enforcement of IPR remains an issue that requires constant attention. Companies need to ensure they are timely in obtaining patent and trademark registrations before the Department of Intellectual Property and in pursuing any claims for infringement or invalidity.
Piracy and Counterfeiting in Thailand
With a highly competitive market, companies should be aware of the potential for piracy and counterfeiting. Piracy is a serious threat to many different sectors of the economy, ranging from computer software and movies to apparels and electronics. It can also impact consumers and brands, which can lead to loss of reputation and sales.