Intellectual Property


Intellectual property plays a crucial role in the world of business and artistic creation, providing legal protection to innovators and creators. In Thailand, a dynamic country in Southeast Asia, intellectual property holds increasing importance as the country positions itself as a regional hub for innovation and investment. The protection of intellectual property rights in Thailand is governed by a specific legal and regulatory system that relies on national laws and international agreements.

1. Copyright

Copyright plays an essential role in protecting artistic and literary creations in Thailand. As a legal system aimed at preserving authors’ rights, copyright provides legal protection to creators, thus encouraging innovation, creativity, and the dissemination of culture.

Copyright Act of 1994:

In Thailand, the protection of copyright is governed by the Copyright Act of 1994. This law is the primary legislative text that defines the rights and obligations of copyright holders. It recognizes and protects literary, musical, artistic, and cinematographic works, providing authors with legal protection for their creations.

Rights of copyright holders:

The Copyright Act grants several exclusive rights to copyright holders. These rights include the right of reproduction, the right of distribution, the right of public performance, and the right to create derivative works. These rights allow authors to control the use, reproduction, and distribution of their works and to receive fair compensation for their exploitation.

Protection against infringement:

Copyright infringement is a serious offense in Thailand. The law provides measures to combat infringement, including civil and criminal actions against offenders. Copyright holders can initiate legal proceedings to enforce their rights and obtain remedies such as damages and injunctions to cease the violations.

Duration of protection:

In Thailand, the duration of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work. In general, the duration is set at the author’s life plus 50 years after their death. For certain collective, anonymous, or collaborative works, the duration is 50 years from the first publication or creation, whichever is longer.

The protection of copyright in Thailand plays a vital role in promoting creativity, innovation, and cultural diversity. The Copyright Act of 1994 ensures legal protection for Thai creators, enabling them to control the use of their works and benefit from the fruits of their labor. By encouraging copyright protection, Thailand supports the flourishing of arts, literature, and culture in the country.

2. Industrial Property

2.1 Patent

Patents play an essential role in protecting and stimulating technological innovation in Thailand. As a system of legal protection granted to inventors, patents provide exclusive rights over an invention, thereby encouraging research and development and fostering economic growth.

Patent Act of 1979:

In Thailand, the protection of patents is governed by the Patent Act of 1979, amended in 1999. This law establishes the legal framework for patent registration, examination, and protection. Its aim is to encourage technological innovation by offering inventors legal protection for their inventions and allowing them to commercially exploit their creations.

The patent registration procedure in Thailand involves filing an application with the Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand. This application must contain a detailed description of the invention, as well as precise claims defining the limits of the sought-after protection. Once the application is filed, a thorough examination of the invention is conducted to verify its novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. If the invention meets these criteria, a patent is granted to the applicant.

Protection and Benefits of Patents:

Patent holders in Thailand enjoy several advantages. Firstly, they have the exclusive right to exploit their invention, allowing them to profit from their research and development efforts. Patent holders can prevent others from manufacturing, using, selling, or importing their invention without permission, thus providing protection against counterfeiting and unfair competition.

Moreover, patents encourage the sharing of technical knowledge. By disclosing the details of their invention in the patent description, inventors contribute to scientific and technological advancement by enabling others to draw inspiration from their ideas and innovate further. This fosters an environment conducive to collaboration and the exchange of ideas, thereby stimulating innovation in the country.

Term of Protection and Renewal:

In Thailand, the duration of patent protection is 20 years from the date of filing the application. Once the protection period expires, the invention falls into the public domain and can be freely used by anyone. Therefore, it is essential for inventors to regularly renew the protection of their patent by paying the appropriate renewal fees to maintain their exclusivity.

2.2 Petty Patent

Patents play a crucial role in the protection and promotion of technological innovation in Thailand. The Patents Act of 1979 provides the necessary legal framework for the registration, examination, and protection of patents, offering inventors the opportunity to protect their inventions and profit from them. Patents encourage research and development, foster collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, and contribute to the country’s economic growth. By protecting the rights of inventors, Thailand creates an environment conducive to innovation and competitiveness in the global market.

2.3 Trademark

Trademarks play an essential role in protecting and promoting the business identity of companies in Thailand. As distinctive signs used to identify and differentiate products and services, trademarks allow businesses to create a unique brand image, strengthen their reputation, and build customer loyalty.

Trademark Act of 1991:

The protection of trademarks in Thailand is governed by the Trademark Act of 1991. This law establishes the legal framework for the registration, protection, and use of trademarks in the country. It allows businesses to protect their distinctive signs such as brand names, logos, slogans, and packaging, providing legal protection against unauthorized use or confusion with other marks.

Registration procedure:

In Thailand, the registration of a trademark is optional but highly recommended. Registration grants the rights holder exclusive use of the mark in commerce, offering better protection against counterfeiting and unauthorized use. The registration procedure involves filing an application with the Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand, followed by examination and publication of the mark in the Official Gazette.

Rights of trademark holders:

Trademark holders in Thailand enjoy exclusive rights to use their mark in commerce. They have the right to prevent others from using an identical or similar mark for similar goods or services, thereby avoiding any confusion or dilution of their business identity. Trademark holders can also license the use of their mark to third parties in exchange for compensation.

Protection and enforcement against counterfeiting:

Thailand has robust measures to combat trademark counterfeiting. The law provides civil and criminal sanctions for offenders, including fines, imprisonment, and seizure of counterfeit products. Trademark holders can initiate legal actions to enforce their rights and obtain remedies in case of mark infringement.

Duration of protection:

In Thailand, the duration of trademark protection is 10 years from the date of registration, renewable indefinitely. It is essential for trademark holders to renew their registration before expiration to maintain continuous protection.

The protection of trademarks in Thailand plays a crucial role in promoting the business identity of companies. The Trademark Act of 1991 offers a solid legal framework for the registration, protection, and use of trademarks, enabling businesses to stand out in the market and build a strong reputation. By protecting the rights of trademark holders and fighting against counterfeiting, Thailand encourages innovation and fair competition in the business sector.

2.4 Plants Varieties

Industrial property plays a crucial role in protecting new and distinct plant varieties that have been created or developed through extensive research and investment.

In Thailand, the protection of plant varieties is governed by the Plant Varieties Protection Act of 1999, which is in line with the standards of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The country has been a member of UPOV since 2000.

Thailand has a specific law for the protection of plant varieties, aimed at encouraging innovation in the field of horticulture and agriculture by providing legal protection to breeders of new plant varieties. Breeders can obtain exclusive intellectual property rights over their plant varieties, allowing them to control their use, reproduction, and commercialization.

However, it is important to note that breeders must meet certain conditions to benefit from this protection, such as novelty, distinctiveness, uniformity, and stability of the variety. They must also submit an application for registration to the Department of Plant Varieties Protection of the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Once registered, plant varieties are protected for a specific duration, typically ranging from 20 to 25 years from the date of registration. During this period, the holders of this protection have the exclusive right to produce, sell, and distribute their protected plant varieties.

Furthermore, the Plant Varieties Protection Act in Thailand also includes provisions regarding the use of plant varieties for research, selection, and production purposes. Overall, the law aims to promote innovation, preserve biodiversity, and ensure fair remuneration for breeders of plant varieties.

2.5 Integrated circuit, Topography

It should be noted that integrated circuit in Thailand are eligible for protection under industrial property laws. Also, an integrated circuit design refers to the three-dimensional arrangement of electronic components and their interconnections on an integrated circuit. This protection ensures that the integrated circuit design remains exclusive to its creator for a certain period, typically 10 to 15 years, depending on the jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the protection of integrated circuit designs aims to encourage innovation and investment in Thailand by allowing creators to prevent unauthorized copying, reproduction, or commercial use of their designs. It ensures fair competition and rewards the efforts made.

Moreover, the protection of topography is another aspect of industrial property concerning integrated circuits in Thailand. A topography refers to the arrangement of different elements, such as wires, transistors, and other components, on a semiconductor product or chip. The protection of topography grants exclusive rights to the creator of the topography, thereby preventing unauthorized reproduction or commercial use.

In summary, the protection of integrated circuit designs and topography plays a significant role in the field of industrial property in Thailand. It encourages innovation, safeguards creators’ rights, and fosters fair competition in the electronic industry.

2.6 Trade Secret

Industrial property encompasses various forms of intellectual property rights, including trade secrets. Trade secrets can be defined as valuable and confidential information that provides a competitive advantage to a business. Unlike patents or copyrights, trade secrets are not registered or publicly disclosed, relying on their confidential nature for protection.

In Thailand, trade secrets can include formulas, processes, techniques, customer lists, and business strategies. These trade secrets are typically maintained as confidential through measures such as non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality agreements with employees, restricted access, and internal security protocols.

It is important to note that in Thailand, the protection of trade secrets falls within the realm of industrial property rights. It allows businesses to maintain exclusivity and prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of their valuable information. This protection enables companies to preserve their competitive advantage, safeguard their innovations, and protect their confidential business practices.

To be eligible for protection as a trade secret, the information must meet certain criteria. It should be recognized as valuable, not generally known or easily accessible, and efforts should be made to maintain its confidentiality. Trade secret protection can last indefinitely as long as the information remains confidential.

In cases of unauthorized appropriation of a trade secret in Thailand, where someone acquires, uses, or discloses trade secrets without authorization, legal remedies can be pursued. This may involve injunctions, damages, or other appropriate measures to protect the rights of the trade secret owner.

Trade secrets are a significant aspect of industrial property in Thailand, providing businesses with a means to protect and capitalize on their valuable confidential information. Therefore, rigorous management and protection of trade secrets are essential for businesses to maintain their competitiveness and success.

2.7 Geographical Indications

Geographical indications are an important aspect of industrial property in Thailand. A geographical indication refers to a sign used to identify a product as originating from a specific geographical region, where certain qualities, reputations, or characteristics of the product are associated with that geographical origin.

In Thailand, geographical indications are governed by a law dating back to 2015. This law aims to protect products with a specific geographical origin and prevent any abusive or misleading use of these indications.

It helps preserve the reputation and quality of products associated with a particular region by providing legal recognition and added value to local producers, facilitating the marketing of their products in domestic and international markets.

However, to benefit from protection as a geographical indication in Thailand, it is important for the products to be linked to a specific geographical region and possess qualities or characteristics that are inherent to that geographical origin. Moreover, producers need to form an organization or association to represent the interests of the producers in the region and manage the use of the geographical indication.

Once registered, geographical indications are legally protected against any abusive use, imitation, or misleading use in Thailand. Geographical indication holders can take legal action to enforce their rights and obtain corrective measures and damages in case of infringement.

By protecting geographical indications, Thailand values the diversity of its regional products, promotes economic development in the regions, and preserves local traditions and know-how. It also enhances consumer confidence by ensuring the authenticity and quality of products associated with a specific geographical origin.

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