Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
The intellectual property environment in Thailand has continued to improve in recent years. In December 2017, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) moved Thailand from the Special 301 Priority Watch List (PWL) to the Watch List (WL), and Thailand remains on the WL in 2021.
U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) owners should consider obtaining IPR protection in Thailand before introducing their products or services to the Thai market. Companies may wish to obtain non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, seek advice from local attorneys, or consult with experts in Thai IP law before disclosing their technologies or business information to potential local partners.
The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) oversees and administers Thailand’s IP system. U.S. IP owners may register or apply for their IPR in Thailand for trademarks, patents, designs, layout-design of integrated circuits, and geographical indications. An address for service in Thailand and a local agent or attorney are generally required when filing IP applications at DIP.
As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Thailand generally complies with international intellectual property standards established by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Thailand is also a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (known as the Madrid System). Patent and trademark applicants may use these international systems for filing international patent and trademark applications for requesting protection in Thailand.
Copyrights are protected in Thailand without any registration requirement. However, formal recordation of copyrights at the DIP’s Copyright Office is recommended as it would be useful as evidence of ownership in the event of a dispute. A copyright notice should also be affixed to the copyrighted work.
Thailand protects geographical indications (GIs) through a sui generis law. The law requires registration at the DIP for protection.
Thailand is not a member of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). However, Thailand has the Plant Variety Protection Act, which is administered by the Plant Variety Protection Office within the Ministry of Agriculture. The Act provides some protection for plant breeder’s rights but it does not comply with the UPOV standards.
Trade secrets, such as data, formulas, or other confidential information used in business, may be protected in Thailand if the owner provides appropriate measures to maintain the secrecy.
While Thailand maintains its efforts in the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), the quantity of counterfeit and pirated goods remains a concern, particularly in online markets. In January 2021, the DIP launched a Memorandum of Understanding on Protection of IPR on the Internet aimed at combatting on-line IPR Violations, signed by three Thai government agencies, major e-commerce platforms in Thailand, and IPR owners or representatives. U.S. stakeholders are encouraged to consider joining the MOU.
In Thailand, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (CIPITC) is a specialized court that adjudicates IP disputes, including infringement and invalidity issues in Thailand. An appeal against the decision of CIPIT Court may be submitted to the Court of Appeals for Specialized Cases, the decisions of which may be appealed to the Supreme Court, subject to the Supreme Court’s discretion. The United States continues to urge Thailand to impose effective and deterrent enforcement measures.
IPR owners need to be aware if their products/services are being counterfeited. IPR related disputes can be complex. Therefore, if legal action is necessary, IPR owners are strongly recommended to seek advice from local attorneys who are experts in IP laws and litigation.
It is also recommended that small and medium-sized companies understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IP and stop counterfeiting. There are a number of these organizations, both Thailand and U.S.-based. These include:
- The U.S. Chamber and local American Chambers of Commerce
- National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
- International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
- International Trademark Association (INTA)
- The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy
- International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
- Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective management and protection of their intellectual property. For additional information, please visit Protect Your Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov or contact the IP Attaché for Southeast Asia.
IP Attaché for Southeast Asia
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
U.S. Commercial Service
Room 302, GPF Witthayu Tower A,
93/1 Wireless Road
Bangkok, 10330, Thailand