Thailand: Change of Appeal System for Intellectual Property Cases
In Thailand, there are three levels of courts for general cases, namely the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court. The appeal system recognizes the rights of the parties to a case, who disagree with decisions of the Court of First Instance on both factual or legal issues, to appeal to the Court of Appeal, and thereafter to the Supreme Court. Decisions of the Supreme are final with no further recourse to appeal. The appeal system is considered a right based system.
However, for certain cases, such as those related to intellectual property, international trade, labour, tax, bankruptcy, juveniles and family, there are specialized courts, namely the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, Central Labour Court, Central Tax Court, and Central Bankruptcy Court, and these courts have only two levels. As a result, appeals against the decisions of these Specialized Courts are filed directly to the Supreme Court.
On 14 December 2015, the Act for the Establishment of the Specialized Court of Appeal B.E. 2558 (2015) was announced in the Government Gazette and officially came into force. It introduces the Court of Appeal into the specialized court system. In respect of intellectual property matters, the Act for the Establishment of and Procedure for Intellectual Property and International Trade Court was amended to reflect the introduction of this newly established appeal level court. In addition, the latter Act changes the right of a party to appeal to the Supreme Court from a right based system to a permission based system.
On 13 July 2016, the Royal Decree Providing the Opening Date of the Specialized Court of Appeal B.E. 2559 (2016) announced the opening date of the Specialized Court of Appeal to be 1 October 2016. Following the new act, any special cases including intellectual property cases that the Specialized Court renders the judgment after 1 October 2016 and thereafter can be appealed to the Specialized Court of Appeal. For outstanding cases in the Supreme Court and/or the cases that the Specialized Court renders the judgment before 1 October 2016, they will not be subject to the Specialized Court of Appeal, and will continue to be processed under the two level system. Subsequently, the parties who wish to appeal the judgments of the Specialized Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court will have to request for permission from the Supreme Court under criteria specified in the Act Amending the Civil Procedure Code (No. 27) B.E. 2558 (2015) , for example, the issues for appeal are relevant to public interest, conflicting judgments of the Court of Appeal, or such legal issues have no precedents of the Supreme Court.
In conclusion, from 1 October 2016 onward, all intellectual property cases can be appealed to the Specialized Court of Appeal on both factual and legal issues similar to all other cases in the courts for general cases.