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UPDATES ON THAILAND’S IP ENFORCEMENT SITUATION AND STATISTICS
Enforcement of intellectual property laws in Thailand has been one of the most critical issues in the field of intellectual property protection in the country. Previously, Thailand was on the Priority Watch List (PWL) catergory of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) since 2007, before it was moved to the Watch List (WL) category in late December 2017.
The previous Special 301 Reports of the USTR state that the significant problems of intellectual property enforcement in Thailand were the copyright infringement of entertainment products, software piracy, as well as the manufacture and distribution of fake, counterfeit of designer goods. However, in recent years, there has been good progress of intellectual property protection; with the continual effort of the government in Thailand in promoting public awareness of intellectual property rights and taking enforcement of the laws more seriously.
Robert Lighthizer of USTR in a statement released of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review, had said “we welcome the corrective actions that Thailand has taken and look forward to continuing to work with Thailand to resolve our remaining IP concerns.”
In addition tothe better assessment by the USTR, the sixth edition of the U.S. Chamber International IP Index (2018 IP Index) of the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), released in February 2018, ranked Thailand in 41st position out of 50 countries, compared with 40th position out of 45 countries in 2017. The overall score of the national IP environment has increased from 9.53 to 12.55.
Recently, the Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand (DIP) released its statistics on suppression of IP rights violations for copyright, trademark and patent infringement by the Royal Thai Police, Department of Special Investigation (DSI), and the Customs Department for the year of 2018 and for the month of January 2019.
Source: Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand (Released in February 2019)
The statistics of the DIP show that the majority of the raids in 2018 were against trademark infringement, and the number of cases initiated by the Royal Thai Police is the highest when compared with the number of cases initiated by the DSI and the Customs Department. However, it should be noted that the number of items of goods seized by the officials of the Customs Department is much higher than those seized by the police and the DSI officials. From the statistics, the number of total raids during January this year decreased from January last year by 19.57%.
Over the last year, there have been several significant official destruction ceremonies of counterfeit goods, taking place in collaboration between the DIP, the Royal Thai Police, DSI and the Customs Department. Among the goods destroyed were luxury bags, clothes, shoes, watches, mobile phones, CDs and DVDs, eye glasses, wallets and cosmetics. These destruction ceremonies aim to make sure that all such goods will not re-enter the market, as well as raise public awareness of intellectual property protection in Thailand. Additionally, the ceremonies are considered as evidence of the government’s enforcement efforts against IP infringement in Thailand.
If you have any questions about intellectual property protection and enforcement in Thailand, please feel free to contact us at anytime.
This article is prepared by Pavinee Bunyamissara/Paramee Kerativitayanan
SCL Law Group