Thailand’s World IP Day Celebration 2019

May 9th 2019

On 26 April 2019, the Department of Intellectual Property Thailand (“DIP”) organised the World IP Day Celebration event at Stadium One Sports Community under the campaign of “Reach for Gold: IP and Sports”. This was held to show how innovation, creativity and IP rights encourage and support the development and enjoyment of sport around the world, including in Thailand.  This event was co-organized and sponsored by: the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT); Badminton Association of Thailand; True Corporation; SCG Muangthong United Football Club; Avarin Intergroup Co. Ltd.; EUIPO; USPTO; and JETRO.

Mr. Tossapon Tungsubutra, Director-General of the DIP, emphasised during his opening speech that IP protection helps to secure the economic value of sports and stimulates growth of the industry – e.g. trademark and design protections of sports apparel, shoes, bags, and equipment, patent protection of innovative tools for assessment and improvement of athletic performance, and copyright of the broadcasting of sports events.

In Thailand, sports brands like Nike, Adidas, Converse, Onitsuka Tiger and FILA are some of the brands which have been most infringed, especially for shoes, bags and t-shirts. In February this year, a man was arrested in Bangkok by Crime Suppression and Economic Suppression officers, and more than 20,000 items of clothing and sports shoes were seized, valued at about Baht 16 billion, bearing fake brand name logos, such as Nike, Under Amour, Calvin Klein, Vans, Adidas and FILA.

The counterfeit products relevant to the sports industry also include counterfeits bearing fake logos of sports clubs and teams, particularly European football teams such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, FC Barcelona and Manchester City.  For instance, in February last year, Crime Suppression and Economic Suppression officers arrested two Thai vendors and seized more than 1,600 fake Liverpool Football Club jerseys found in their shops around Bangkok. For this particular seizure, the police attributed losses for Liverpool of approximately Baht 2 million.

Another significant issue of IP and the sports industry is illegal online sports content, particularly illegal streaming and broadcasting of sports games on the Internet and social media platforms. In December last year, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials shut down several major websites that illegally streamed football matches and movies with links to online gambling and pornography. More than 120 officers were involved in the operation to search 19 targeted locations in six provinces. The chief of the DSI said the websites caused more than Baht 4 billion in damages to copyright owners, and over the past 2-3 years their illegal websites would have generated about Baht 300 million.

Despite the fact that there are still some counterfeiting and piracy activities in Thailand remaining, the situation has been gradually improving over these recent years.  There has been good progress in IP protection with the continual effort of the Government in Thailand in promoting public awareness of IP rights, as well as enforcing the laws more seriously. This goes hand in hand with the Government’s national policy of Thailand 4.0, wherein the economy is driven by innovation and creativity.