Currently, Thailand remains affected by the global Coronavirus Disease 19 (“COVID-19”) pandemic. Consequently, the Royal Thai Government is extending the national state of emergency up until 30 September 2020. The restrictions imposed in response to the ongoing pandemic, e.g. on international flights or on certain business activities, have inevitably caused businesses and intellectual property (IP) owners to be directly affected.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand (“DIP”) has implemented various measures to facilitate IP owners affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic. In such regard, on 24 March 2020, the DIP issued a notification implementing measures to allow applicants affected by the pandemic to request for extensions of filing deadlines of IP related submissions, such as renewal applications and responses to office actions, as well as appeals after such deadlines have already passed. In order to request for an extension beyond the original stipulated deadline, the DIP provided a grace period of 15 days following the conclusion of COVID-19-related circumstances, whereby the applicant can submit an extension request to the DIP.
Subsequently, the DIP issued another notification on 27 May 2020, to also allow further extensions to the filing deadlines prescribed by the official, namely the amendment or addition to the filing particulars of previously-submitted applications or submission of supporting evidence, as stipulated under the Licensing Facilitation Act B.E. 2558 (2015); which applies to the granting of all permissions or licensing by the relevant authorities, as well as all registrations or notifications in which the application for such are required by laws or rules prior to carrying out any activity. Under said notification, any applicant affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 – who is unable to make an amendment or addition to the application’s filing particulars within the prescribed deadline – is allowed to request for an extension of time in such regard. In support of the request, the applicant must submit relevant documents, namely medical certificates, flight cancellation certificates and/or any other documents verifying the applicant’s inability to meet the original deadline. The said request and supporting evidence must be presented to the DIP within the original deadline.
The decision on whether or not to grant the deadline extension will rely solely on the discretion of the responsible Registrars, based on the applicant’s justifications and evidence submitted in support of the request. If the responsible Registrars view that the applicant’s reason and supporting evidence are justifiable, the applicant will be granted a 90-day extension following the prescribed deadline, in order to make any amendment or addition to the filing particulars of its submitted application. In the event that said requests are rejected by the responsible Registrars, the applicants will be granted a period of 15 days following the issuance of such rejections to appeal the responsible Registrars’ decisions to the Trademark Board; which could either uphold the Registrars’ decisions or overrule such decisions and order the Registrars to grant extensions to the applicants’ submission deadlines.
Note: As of the time of writing of this article (August 2020), the extension policies remain in effect indefinitely until annulment by a subsequent notification, which is expected to be issued once the COVID-19 pandemic has finished.
With regard to any trademark applicant or registrant who missed any deadline during the pandemic period, it may be worth trying to get extension of time under these Notifications.
This article is prepared by Metas Sansuk and Aleron Laoboonchai