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Thailand Intellectual Property System
The laws concerning intellectual property in Thailand are as follows:
- Patent Act (third amendment in 1999): Patent Act B.E. 2522 (1979), B.E 2535 (1992) and B.E. 2542 (1999)
- Trademark Act (second amendment in 2000): Trademark Act B.E. 2534 (1991), B.E. 2543 (2000)
- Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (enacted in 1994)
- The Geographical Indication Protection Act B.E. 2546 (enacted in 2003)
- Plant Varieties Protection Law B.E. 2542 (enacted in 1999)
- Act on Protection of Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits B.E. 2543 (enacted in 2000)
- Trade Secrets Act B.E. 2545 (enacted in 2002)
- The Protection and Promotion of Traditional Thai Medicine Wisdom Act B.E. 2542 (A.D. 1999) (enacted in 1999)
At present, the administrative institutions in Thailand exercising the Intellectual Property laws are the Department of Intellectual Property :DIP, Ministry of Commerce: http://www.ipthailand.org/ the Economic Crime Investigation Division: ECID, Centre for Coordination of Deterrence Against Intellectual Property Violation at DIP, etc. In addition, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court: IP & IT Court, is a special court established in 1997 which has exclusive jurisdiction regarding intellectual property and international trade. This court was established on the basis of the Act concerning the Establishment and Procedures of Intellectual Property and International Trade Court of 2006.
Concerning intellectual property-related international treaties, Thailand is a signatory to the TRIPS agreement, Berne Convention (July 17, 1931), WIPO (December 25, 1989), WTO (since January 1, 1995), the Paris Convention (August 2, 2008), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (agreement deposited on September 24, 2009, came into effect on December 24, 2009), but has not signed the Madrid Protocol and UPOV at present. However, as Thailand has expressed willingness to accede and has put the possibility under consideration, it is expected to sign the Madrid Protocol in 2015
||Necessity of registration
||Term of right protection
||Novelty, Inventive step, Industrial applicability
||Production, use, sale, possession and offers for the purpose of sale, import
||Use before filing of application, Use for the purpose of education or research, etc.
||Twenty years after the filing date
|Petty Invention (Petty Patent)
||Novelty, Inventive step, Industrial applicability
||Six years after the filing date (two renewals for a period of two years each possible)
||Novelty、Applicability in industry or industrial Arts
||Ten years after the filing date
||Trademark, service mark, certification mark, collective mark
||Distinctiveness, not being prohibited by law, lack of identity or similarity to registered trademarks
||Trademark use concerning designated products or services
||Benevolent use regarding individuals or companies, or benevolent use concerning description of products, etc.
||Ten years after the registration date. May be renewed every ten years.
audio-visual broadcast, etc.)
|Creations by an author
||Protected automatically, but may be recorded at DIP
||Reproduction, alteration, circulation to the public, grant to others of rights arising from copyright
||Personal use, non-profit research, use for educational purposes, etc.
||Starting from the date of creation until fifty years after the death of the creator. In cases where the author is a legal entity, fifty years after release.
Which inventions may obtain a patent right in Thailand?
Under the Patent Act of Thailand, an invention that may obtain a patent right is research which introduces a product or a production method or an action that improves a product or a production method. (Patent Act, Article 3)
What are the patent registration requirements?
Article 5 of the Patent Act determines as patentability requirements novelty of the invention (Art. 6), possession of inventive step (Art. 7), industrial applicability (Art. 8)
- A novel invention（the most important requirement, defined by Art. 6 of the Patent Act) is an invention which has not become state of the art. "State of the art" refers to the following inventions:
(1) Inventions which have been made or widely known in the country before the date of filing the application.
(2) Inventions whose main contents or details have been disclosed in documents or publications distributed in or outside of the country before the date of filing the application. The disclosure is perceived as such regardless of the means of publication, be it a document, a printed publication, an exhibition, or another way of disclosure to the public.
(3) Inventions which have already obtained a (certificate of) patent grant or utility model grant in or outside of the country before the date of filing the application.
(4) Inventions for which a patent application or a utility model application was filed eighteen moths prior to the application date, but a (certificate of) patent or utility model right has still not been issued.
(5) Inventions with regard to which the applicant for a patent or a utility model is in or outside of the country and which have already been disclosed prior to the application date in Thailand.
However, 1. disclosure of the main contents or details of the invention which has occurred as a result of illegal actions, 2. disclosure of the main contents or details by the inventor, 3. disclosure due to display of the results of the inventor at an official public exhibition or an international trade fair are not considered disclosure under the above (2) if a patent application is filed within twelve months after the date on which 1., 2. or 3. have occurred.
- Inventions which possess novelty are inventions which are not easily obvious to a person possessing ordinary expertise in the given field According to a decision by the IP&IT Court, inventions which use known principles or technologies, as well as inventions which present but a small difference from previous inventions, do not qualify as possessing novelty.
- Industrially applicable inventions are inventions which can be utilized in industrial production including handicrafts, agriculture, and commerce. This requirement necessitates inventions beneficial to the public. If a patent application is filed for an invention which is not industrially applicable, a risk of rejection of the application exists.
Inventions which, based on this law, may not obtain patent rights
- 1. Naturally occurring microorganisms and their components, animals, plants or extracts from animals or plants
- 2. Scientific or mathematical rules or theories
- 3. Data systems for computer operations
- 4. Methods of diagnosis, treatment or cure of human and animal diseases
- 5. Inventions contrary to public order, morality, health or welfare
Necessary application documents
- 1. Designated application form (in Thai) ( PI/PD/PP-001-A, or SorPor/SorPhor/OrSorPor/001-Gor.) The following information must be included in the application.
Information concerning the application (information concerning the title of the invention, inventor (s) and their address, applicant(s) and their address, applicant representative, etc.)
Information concerning priority right claim (whether there is a priority claim, country of the priority claim, priority claim number, priority claim date, etc.)
- 2. Specification and abstract
- 3. Drawings (if necessary)
- 4. Power of Attorney. If the applicant is a foreigner, an English translation of a notarized Power of Attorney is necessary for an application filed by a representative.
- 5. Other necessary documents (for example, priority certificate, deed of assignment, etc.)
In principle, when filing an application, all necessary documents must be prepared in the Thai language. However, if priority is to be claimed, the application may be filed in a foreign language, but it is necessary to submit a Thai translation within a certain period (ninety days) after filing the application.
Term for protection of patent right (Patent Act, Article 35)
Patent right is valid for twenty years after the application filing date, but if litigation procedures concerning the applicant's eligibility or opposition occur, the period of those procedures is excluded. During the twenty years of the term, the patent owner may possess an exclusive right with regard to the patent. In addition, he/she may, upon establishing conditions, and grant a license to another party.
Developments from filing a patent application to registration in Thailand
Under the Thai Patent Act, "design" means any form or composition of lines or colors which gives a special appearance to a product and can serve as a pattern for a product of industry, including handicraft (Patent Act, Article 3).
What are the registration requirements for designs?
A design which may be applied for design registration is: (Patent Act, Article 56)
(1) A new design
(2) A design which is applicable in industry, including handicrafts
However, the following designs are judged as not being new (Art. 57)
①Designs which existed in Thailand and were widely known or used before the filing of the application for registration;
②Designs whose shape, main parts or details were disclosed in documents or printed publications in Thailand or another country before the filing of the application for registration;
③Designs which were published under Section 65 pursuant to Article 28 before the filing of the application for registration;
④Designs so nearly resembling any of the designs prescribed in (1), (2) or (3) as to be judged an imitation
Designs which may not be granted design rights (Art. 58)
(1) Designs that are contrary to public order or morality;
(2) Designs prescribed by a Royal Decree.
Term for design protection (Art. 62)
The term of design right is ten years from the date of filing of the application in Thailand. In case of court proceedings, the period of said proceedings is not included in the term of design right.
Utility models (petty patents)
A system for utility models (petty patents) was established through the 1999 Patent Act amendment.
What are the registration requirements for utility models (petty patents)?
If the following requirements are fulfilled, a utility model may obtain registration (Art.65 bis):
(1) The invention is new;
(2) The invention has industrial applicability.
The interpretation with regard to novelty and applicability is the same as with patents.
The following are also the same as with patents:
- The definition of invention
-Reasons for unregistrability
-The set, format, contents, and filing institution of application documents
However, it is not possible to file both a patent and a utility model application with regard to one and the same invention.
Term for utility model protection (Patent Act, Art. 65 septies)
The term of utility model right is six years from the date of filing of the application in Thailand. However, in case of court proceedings, the period of said proceedings is not included in the term of utility model right. Furthermore, the term of utility model right may be extended twice for a period of two years each time. In addition, a request for extension of term may be submitted to the competent officer within the ninety days before the date of expiration of the term.
Trademarks in Thailand
Which marks may be registered as trademarks in Thailand?
Under the Thai trademark law, a mark that may be registered as a trademark is defined as a photograph, drawing, scheme, seal, brand, name, word, letter, number, signature, color, shape or configuration of an object or any combination thereof (Trademark Act, Art. 4)
What are the registration requirements for trademarks?
Article 6 of the Patent Act prescribes as requirements for registration of a trademark a specific explicit form (distinctiveness) (Art. 7), a trademark whose registration is not prohibited (Art. 8), a trademark that is not is identical with or bearing close resemblance to a trademark already registered by another person
- Distinctive trademarks (Art.7)
A distinctive trademark is one which possesses a form that allows the public or the consumers of its goods to distinguish and comprehend the difference between those trademarked goods and other goods. A trademark which possesses or is composed of the following chief components is regarded as having a specific explicit form.
(1) A personal name or a surname which is not based on its ordinary signification, or a full name of a juristic person or trade name represented in a special manner which has no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods;
(2) A word or words having no direct reference to the form or qualities of the goods and is not a geographical name prescribed by the Minister in the Ministerial Notifications;
(3) Colors demonstrated by a special form, stylized letters, numerals or coined words;
(4) The signature of the applicant or his/her predecessor or of another person who has given his/her permission;
(5) A representation of the applicant or of another person who has granted his or her permission. In case that the person is deceased, a representation with the permission of his or her parents, descendants or spouse;
(6) A designed picture
- Trademarks which may be registered (Art. 8)
A trademark whose registration is not prohibited is a trademark which does not fall into any of the following:
(1) State seals, royal seals, official seals, Chakkri emblems, medals, insignia of rank, seals of ministries, bureaus, departments or provinces;
(2) The national flag of Thailand, royal standard flags or official flags;
(3) Royal names, royal monograms, abbreviations of royal names or royal monograms, or names of members of the royal family
(4) Photographs of the King of Thailand, Queen of Thailand, Heir to the Throne of Thailand or other members of the royal family;
(5) names, words, content or marks referring to the King of Thailand, Queen of Thailand or Heir to the Throne of Thailand or other members of the royal family;
(6) national flags and emblems of foreign states, flags and emblems of international organizations, emblems of heads of foreign states, official emblems of quality control and guarantee of goods, or names and monograms of foreign states or international organizations. However, this does not apply if permission is granted by an authority of the foreign state or international organization
(7) Official emblems and emblems of the Red Cross or the names "Red Cross" and "Geneva Cross";
(8) Marks identical with or closely resembling medals, diplomas or certificates or any other mark awarded at a trade exhibition or contest held by the Thai government or a Thai government agency for public enterprise or any other government organ of Thailand, a foreign government or international organization. However, this does not apply if such medals, diplomas, certificates or marks have been actually awarded to the applicant for goods and are used as part of the trademark. In such cases, the year in which the medal, etc. was awarded must be indicated.
(9) Trademarks which contravene public order and morality or trademarks which are designated by the state as subject to boycott.
(10) Trademarks which are identical with well-known trademarks as prescribed by the Ministerial Notifications, or so similar to such trademarks that the public might be misled or confused as to the owner or origin of the goods. In those cases the trademark might or might not be registered.
(11) Trademarks similar to those of (1), (2), (3), (5), (6) or (7);
(12) Geographical indications protected under the Geographical Indication Protection Act;
(13) Other trademarks prescribed by Ministerial Notifications.
- Identical or similar trademarks(Art. 13)
A trademark which is identical or similar is a trademark which is identical with a trademark already registered by another person or is so similar to a trademark registered by another person that it may cause confusion or misconception as to the owner or origin of the goods, and in case the application is for goods of the same class or for goods of with the same characteristics of a different class, it may not obtain trademark registration.
Necessary application documents
- 1. Designated application form (in Thai) (Gor.01) (a request for application) An original and five copies.
- 2. Six samples of the trademark (one pasted to the application documents and five prepared to be submitted to the Government of Thailand)
The size of the samples must not exceed five centimeters in length x five centimeters in width.
If the trademark is in color, it is necessary to prepare a color trademark.
- 3. Information regarding the applicant and copies of identification documents
If the applicant is a juristic person, it is necessary to submit an original certificate of the legal entity of more than six months.
- 4. Power of attorney (Gor.18). If the applicant is a foreigner, the application must be filed by a representative and the English translation of a Power of Attorney signed by a notary public is necessary.
- 5. Other necessary documents (for example, Deed of Assignment, Priority Certificate, etc.)
Regarding class(es) of designated goods (services) and goods (services), unlike in Japan, in Thailand it is not possible to file a multi-class application and an application must be filed separately for every class.
Term of trademark protection (Trademark Act, Art. 53)
Trademark right is valid for ten years from the date of registration. It is possible to renew it unlimited times, one renewal being valid for ten years. If renewal is desired, the trademark owner must conduct the renewal procedures within the ninety days before the term expires. If renewal procedures have not been completed within the ninety days, the trademark registration is cancelled.
Developments from filing a trademark application to registration in Thailand
Copyright in Thailand
A copyright work means a literary, dramatic, artistic, musical, audiovisual, cinematographic, sound recording, public broadcasting creation or any other creation of an author in the sphere of literature, science or art, regardless of the method or form of its expression. Ideas, processes, methods, systems, methods of use, work or thinking, principles, research or scientific or mathematical theories are not covered by copyright protection.
The issuance of a copyright notification (registration) and of a certificate is not a necessary requirement for the occurrence of copyright, but it is regarded as evidence of copyright in court.
Term of copyright protection (Copyright Act, Art. 19 through Art. 26)
In principle, the term of copyright protection exists throughout the lifetime of the author and fifty years after his/her death. However, the following exceptions exist:
- 1. Copyright regarding works by joint authors exists throughout the lifetime of the authors and fifty years after the death of the last surviving author.
- 2. If the author or all the joint authors have deceased prior to the publication of the work, copyright exists for fifty years after the initial publication.
- 3. Copyright in cases where the author is a juristic person exists for fifty years after the time of creation of the work. However, if the work is published at that time, copyright exists for fifty years after the initial publication.
- 4. Copyright in cases where the work is created by an author under a pseudonym or an anonymous author exists for fifty years after the time of creation of the work. However, if the work is published during that period, copyright exists for fifty years after the initial publication.
- 5. Copyright regarding photographic works, audiovisual works, films, sound recordings any works expressed through sounds and pictures exists for fifty years after the time of creation of the work. However, if the work is published during that period, copyright exists for fifty years after the initial publication.
- 6. Copyright regarding works of applied art exists for twenty- five years after the time of creation of the work. However, if the work is published during that period, copyright exists for twenty-five years after the initial publication.
- 7. Copyright regarding works created in employment, as a result of an order or control under Art. 14 exists for fifty years after the time of creation of the work. However, if the work is published during that period, copyright exists for twenty-five years after the initial publication.
Procedures for applying for copyright notification・issuance of certificate in Thailand