Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property

Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

The intellectual property environment in Thailand has continued to improve in recent years.  In December 2017, the United States Trade Representative(USTR) moved Thailand out of the Special 301 Priority Watch List (PWL) to the Watch List (WL), after the Out-of-Cycle Review conducted by USTR between September and December 2017.  Thailand remains on the WL in 2019. 

While Thailand maintains its efforts in the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) , the quantity of counterfeit goods found in tourist attraction areas remains high.  Most notable is the popular night market in Bangkok, namely Patpong Market, which is listed in the USTR Notorious Markets Reports released in 2019.

Moreover, online and mobile piracy continues to increase and physical goods piracy and counterfeiting on a commercial scale remain problematic.  The United States continues to urge Thailand to  impose effective and deterrent enforcement measures.

U.S. IP right owners should consider obtaining IPR protection in Thailand before introducing their products or services to the Thai market.  Companies may wish to require non-disclosure and non-compete agreements to be signed, or seek advice from local attorneys or consult with experts in Thai IP law, before disclosing their technologies to local partners. The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) oversees Thailand’s IP system. U.S. IP owners may register their IP rights 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 is 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.

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.

IPR owners need to be aware if their products/services are being counterfeited. IPR related disputes can be complex. Therefore, if a 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-size 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- or 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)

Resource:  In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property.  For a background on this, please click the link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and Corruption.

IP Attaché For ASEAN and Southeast Asia
Kitisri Sukhapinda
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office