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Intellectual Property Laws in the Kingdom of Thailand

Oct 12, 2007
Intellectual property is one of the major types of capital assets. It is usually the result of a human brain's intellect. It can be either tangible or intangible. Idea, process, and theory are some of the most popular forms of intangible category. Included in the tangible type is product, invention, or any such kind of tangible medium such as discovery, creation, or a specific knowledge.

Based on several factors such as background, intellectual output, dynamic technology, and economic and social interests, intellectual property in Thailand is classified into two sections: Industrial Property and Copyright. Industrial property is again categorized into patent for invention and utility model and design, trade mark, integrated circuit, trade secret, trade name, and appellations of origin.

A member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Thailand's each intellectual property is unique and has different requirements. Hence, they possess different legal treatments. All of the laws pertaining to the development, promotion, and protection of them are managed by the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), which in turn is under the control of the Ministry of Commerce of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Among the responsibilities of the DIP are: protection of intellectual property rights under the Patent laws, the trade marks laws, the law of copyrights, and the trade secrets law; formulating rights for the purpose of the promotion of the creation of new intellectual property works; developing information technology systems; and restructuring and modernizing laws in order to ensure maximum efficiency and protection.

Further, a special court operates here for the protection of intellectual property laws in the Kingdom of Thailand, namely, the IP & IT (Intellectual Property and International Trade) court system. Some of the prominent features of this court system are exclusive jurisdiction on the enforcement of both civil and criminal matters of intellectual property and exclusive jurisdiction on the enforcement of arbitral awards in intellectual property and international trade matters.

Now we will discuss laws related to some of the major types of intellectual property, such as, patent laws, trade marks laws, and copyright laws.

Patent Law
- A patent is usually provided for an invention that is new as well as innovative. In some instances, petty patents are granted for the purpose of the protection of designs

- Al though, Thailand not a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), residents, nationals, and those with ongoing business existence in the country with a membership from the Paris Convention or the World Trade Organization can file for a patent in Thailand. However, the application for patent could be filed only in the country where the product it has been originally invented.

- Among the documents mandatory for filing of patent application are deed of assignment, power of attorney (if required), statement showing applicant's rights, and applicant's information

- Procedures included in a standard patent filing include steps like filing of application for patent, publication, request for examination, and the registration of the patent. All of the patent-related documents are translated to the Thai language

- It takes a period ranging 2-5 years from the date of filing for the acquisition of patent. But, the duration of patent registration varies according to the nature of patent, such as, invention, design, and petty

Trademarks
- Collection marks, service marks, and certification marks are some of trademarks that can be registered in Thailand
- Trademarks applications are usually handled by the Trademark Division of the Department of the of Intellectual Property
- For applying for trademark, the applicant must have a permanent business location in the country. A non resident can apply only through a Thai resident by granting him the power of attorney

Copyright Laws
- Copyright is usually for the protection of original works of authors engaged in various art fields, such as, literature, music, and architecture. Apart from these, it also covers works related to other fields such as computer software

A large number of law firms operate in Thailand to provide world-class services for Thai intellectual property related works. Usually, the services in connection with them are offered by local Thai law firms.

Most significant among the services offered by majority of these law firms are protection regarding patents, domain names, trade mark, and copyright registration; intellectual property management covering several aspects like drafting, negotiation, and business support; and investigation regarding patents and copyright. Also, covered in the services are trademark registrations, infringement challenges, compliance and protection of trade secrets, licensing, and providing confidentiality with regard to agreements.

However, before approaching a law firm in Thailand for acquiring intellectual property law services, a thorough investigation must be conducted with regard to its professionalism, reputation, and the way it renders the services. The internet also serves as a great way to hunt for the most suitable Thai law firm, since many of the service providers have their sites on the web with such details as services they render and their fee.
About the Author
For nearly 30 years, Bamrung Suvicha Apisakdi Law Associates (BSA Law) has focused on providing reliable legal advice and services to the Thai and foreign business community in Thailand. We provide international standards of legal services while retaining the customs of the Thai business culture.
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