Basics of Thai Trademark Act
Thailand, as a member of the World Trade Organization, improved its Trademark laws in order to conform to the objectives based on international standards. Thai Trademark Act defines a trademark as a mark used or proposed to be used on or in connection with goods to distinguish those trademarked goods from other goods. Thai Trademark Act covers trademarks, collective marks, certification marks and service marks.
Registration of trademarks in Thailand is not mandatory, however, it is more advantageous because registration of trademark provides and guarantees legal protection against infringement and counterfeiting. No person can bring legal action or proceeding to recover damages arising from infringement of an unregistered trademark. Foreign trademarks are recognized in Thailand; however, the country’s trademark laws provide limited protection in such circumstances.
In order to be registered under the Thai Trademark Act, the trademark shall be distinctive. It is distinctive if it allows the public to distinguish those trademarked goods from the other goods. It must not also be prohibited by the Trademark Act and must not be identical or confusingly similar to another registered trademark.
Once the application for trademark protection has been considered, the application shall be published in accordance with the procedure provided by Ministerial Regulations. Thailand is not a signatory of any international agreement on Protection of Trademark. However, because it is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it gives priority right under Paris Convention to nationals of member-countries of the WTO. Once the application is approved, the date of the application shall be deemed as the date of registration. The Registrar shall then be given a Registration Certificate thereby giving the holder the right to exclusively use the goods for which it is registered. The right to the trademark may be transferred or assigned through succession. The assignment through succession shall be registered with the Registrar. For a trademark to be registered, the applicant must be a resident of Thailand. Non residents can only apply for registration of the Trademark through an agent.
The registration of the trademark entitles the owner a protection of his trademark for a period of twenty (20) years. This however can be renewed by the owner within 90 days before the expiration of the term of his trademark for a period of another ten (10) years.
Under Section 61, 62, 63 of the Thai Trademark Act, the following are the grounds for cancellation of the registration certificate:
That the trademark is not distinctive;
That the trademark is prohibited by the Trademark Act;
That the trademark is identical to a registered trademark;
That the trademark is confusingly similar to a registered trademark;
That the trademark is contrary to public order, good morality, or public policy;
That at the time of the registration of the trademark, the owner does not have a bona fide intention to use the trademarks with the goods for which it was registered unless the owner can prove that the non-use of the trademark was due to a special circumstance in trade and he has no intention to abandon the right to use the same;
Any interested person may thus petition the court to cancel the registration of a trademark in Thailand, showing the above-mentioned grounds and showing that he has better rights as against the owner.