Like several other countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand is also rather reluctant in creating and enforcing patent laws. So much so that in 1964, their Supreme Court ruled it unenforceable under Thai law. But also like many other ASEAN countries, their membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO) changed their position in intellectual property (IP) rights and so patent rights are now recognized in the country.
While the local enforcement of patent laws still need improvement, recent developments are showing better conditions for patent owners. The case of Honda Motors, Inc. is regarded as a landmark case in recent years as their victory gave them the largest compensation for a design patent infringement case in the country to date. They were awarded THB 68.65 million in compensation for the patent infringement and the court also ordered the defendants to pay THB 500,000 for the plaintiff’s legal fees.
The patent infringement case centered around the design of car accessories that were in violation of four patents that Honda Motors own. The decision was made after court officials visited the warehouse of defendants where the items violating Honda’s patents are stored. With this case, IP experts are hopeful that Thailand will start protecting patents better.
Should you wish to apply for a Thailand patent, take note of the instructions below.
The procedure for registration of invention patents is as follows:
After undergoing a preliminary examination prior to being published, the applicant must comply with all requests of the Examiner for further information or clarification of all invention details.
This process could take a year even if an application passes through the preliminary examination without the need for any amendments.
After this first step, the application will now proceed with 90-day publication period from which any of the following might occur:
Within five years after publication, after successfully overcoming any opposing party, the applicant may now request for substantive examination.
The applicant must include results of overseas search or examination reports and patent documents along with the request.
If an overseas search report is available, the Examiner will not consider it necessary to have an international search conducted. Otherwise, the Examiner will require the applicant to pay US$350-650 for an international search.
The duration of the substantial examination depends on how complex the invention is
and it could take five years or more before the substantial examination is completed.
Should the results be positive, the patent will be granted.
An Invention Patent is valid for 20 years from the date of filing.
The procedures for the application for design and petty patents are similar except that
the expiration period for filing for priority claim was within six months for design and
petty patent, and one year for invention patent.
Applicants who have filed an application in foreign countries may claim the first foreign filing date as the filing date in Thailand if the first foreign application was filed within the given expiration period (six months for design and petty patent, and one year for invention patent) prior to application in Thailand and the application was filed in a country with equal reciprocal rights to Thailand.
The following limitations disqualify any patent application:
Patent applications may also be rejected if:
right to file an application;
the filing of the patent application.
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