Thailand plays host to many international companies from both the United States and Europe. Many of them have registered trademarks in their home countries and in order to maintain international standards in Thailand, US firms would have to register their trademark in Thailand. This will give the company the protection against counterfeiting and infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR). A registered trademark also strengthens a company’s ability to enforce its rights and ensuring that the company is not unknowingly infringing on a trademark registered to another firm. Experienced Phuket lawyers will be most helpful in this area as they are well familiarized with the local statutes.
While Thai law generally recognizes registered foreign trademarks the protection that they are able to provide is at best very limited. Thailand is not bound by international conventions or treaties that provide reciprocal enforcement with respect to trademarks. In the same light, trademarks and patents are territorial and must be filed in every country where protection is sought. A US trademark or patent does not get protection in another country. Under the Trademark Act of Thailand, protection is guaranteed only if a Thai trademark is registered. While registration of a Thai trademark is a tedious and lengthy process, the upside is that your Thai trademark is protected effective on the date of application submission. The process is usually recommended by Phuket law firms to their foreign clients since this is the only way they can be protected from counterfeiting and IPR infringement.
A US company applying for a trademark in Thailand must have a fixed place of business in the Kingdom. If the applicant is a non-resident, the applicant must appoint a Thai resident as an agent in order to register a trademark. A power of attorney will be prepared by the applicant’s corporate lawyer and executed for the purpose. Trademark applications must also be completed in Thai language. And this is why assistance from lawyers in Phuket is necessary and inevitably important.
The application process will start by performing a trademark search to ensure that no similar mark exists or has been registered to another entity. When this is done, Phuket lawyers will proceed to submit all the required documentation and other relevant information. The Trademark Registrar may seek explanations, statements and opinions from the hired Phuket lawyers on behalf of the applicant. An efficient and prompt handling of communication with the Trademark Registrar will increase the likelihood of a successful approval.
If the Trademark Registrar has proposed amendments to the application, 90 days will be given to the applicant to enforce such amendments. Otherwise, in case of non-conformance with the proposed amendment, the applicant through the lawyers may file an appeal with the Board of Trademark Committee within 90 days of receipt of the Registrar’s suggestion.
An approved registered Trademark is valid for ten years from the date of the filing of the Trademark application. Renewal requires filing of a renewal application within 90 days before the expiration of validity period of the approved trademark. The Trademark Office is not required to notify the trademark owner of the expiration date.
The owner or their representatives should monitor the Official Trademark Journal published monthly in order to protect their Trademark and to ensure that no same Trademarks are being registered. Any infringement discovered, the trademark owner may file a civil and/or criminal case against the offender in which case Phuket based lawyers are best to handle the proceedings.