Thailand and the International Registration of Trademarks
The primary means of facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world is the Madrid system, whose legal basis is the multilateral treaty Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (1981) and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement (1989) (“Madrid Protocol”).
With Cambodia recently becoming the fourth Southeast Asian nation to sign up, alongside the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, Thailand is now moving to revise certain fundamentals of its Trademark Act B.E. 2534 (1991) in order to better position itself to meet the requirements of the Madrid Protocol. In its current form, the Thai Trademark Act does not meet the requirements specified for Madrid Protocol compliance.
Despite the unpredictability of the regional business landscape, Thailand’s intellectual property and trademark rights industry is growing. In the first quarter of 2015, Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (“DIP”) reported an increase of 35% in trademark application filings compared to last year. A total of 60% of all trademark applications filed were from Thai individuals and corporations, indicating an increasing awareness of trademark rights and protections among Thai entities.
Thailand’s adoption of the Madrid Protocol will bring significant benefits to Thai entities planning to market their trademarks globally. The Applicant will have the right to designate any of the 100+ countries that have signed up to the Madrid Protocol (subject to payment of additional fees). In consideration of the increasing number of inbound applications, as well as current Thai Trademark Office practices regarding trademark registrability at the time of examination, it is also highly relevant for foreign applicants who continue to have to contact a local representative in order to deal with any action issued by the DIP.
However, adoption of the international trademark registration practices available under the Madrid Protocol requires amendment of the Thai Trademark Act. International trademark registration, for example, is required to be made in the English language.
While Cambodia became party to the Madrid Protocol on 5th June 2015, drafting, passing and enacting a revised Thai Trademark Act is likely to take at least another 1-2 years. Once complete, Thai entities can look forward to more streamlined application processes and global protection regarding their IP and trademark rights.
For more information, contact Mr. Andreas C. Richter at: [email protected].