By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The Intellectual Property Department has warned businesses to register their patents, trademarks or copyrights before trading in markets both local and international, as some Thai products have been copied and sold overseas.
The department found more cases of Thai intellectual-property rights being breached in some countries because Thais are less concerned about IPR,” said Kulanee Issadisai, deputy director-general of the department.
Thai companies need to take IPR more seriously amid global trade liberalisation, she said.
More Thai logos, trademarks and product designs have been pirated. If local firms do not protect their IPR, they could lose opportunities to sell their own products and penetrate other markets.
Even products sold in the domestic market have been copied and sold overseas. If companies want to expand to other countries, they may be unable to do so because foreign players or pirates may have already registered their knockoffs.
The department is dealing with some cases where products are owned by Thais, but they cannot be sold abroad as they have not been registered.
For example, Royal Porcelain products have been reproduced in China for export to Italy and the United Arab Emirates, where the products have not been registered for patent protection. The Thai enterprise has in effect been excluded from these markets.
To avoid the problem, the department urges businesses or innovators to register their rights with the department.
To help IPR owners, Thailand has recently entered the Patent Coopera-tion Treaty (PCT). Now Thai inventors can register their patents quickly, cheaply and with wider protection.
The treaty permits the filing of a single application for a patent covering more than one country. The process identifies the patent application to be considered in a large number of countries within a specified period.
An applicant need not travel and follow the domestic laws in each country, which can be complicated, redundant and costly. The PCT network covers 148 member countries.
Thailand is the eighth Asean nation to accede to the treaty, ahead of Cambodia and Myanmar.
Thai patent owners had suffered in the past by having their products faked in export markets where they had no patents. The department expects Thai companies to register trademarks more easily and be assured of greater protection in the future.
Madrid Protocol membership will reduce the cost of registering individual trademarks, shorten the time taken to register a trademark and provide protection via the protocol network of 91 member countries.