Recent Initiatives of IP Enforcement in Thailand
The Thai Prime Minister and the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) are focused on substantially reducing the number of counterfeit products in the market as part of an effort to have Thailand removed from the Priority Watch List by the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The government is continuing their operations to suppress infringing activities. They are negotiating with the management of both MBK Mall and Pantip Plaza in Bangkok and they have sent military officials to pressure the sellers of counterfeit products in Rong Kluea market in Sa Kaew province. These three areas comprise together what is known as the "Red Zone" for the sale of counterfeit products. The government is expected to prevent and/or suppress the sale of infringing goods in the Red Zone before August 2017. In the interim, the DIP is seeking the assistance of right holders and the public with notifying relevant officials about any tips regarding IP infringing activities. This outreach not only increases the likelihood of gaining valuable information to combat infringers, it has the added benefit of increasing public awareness about the importance of IP rights.
In addition to the measures above, the Amendment to the Thai Computer Crime Act (the Amendment) became law in May 2017 as previously mentioned in our January 2017 client alert. Among the numerous provisions set forth in the Amendment, Section 20 empowers competent officials to file petitions with the court to block computer data that violates IP law. Under the provision, upon request by a competent official under the relevant IP laws or at the request of an inquiry officer under the Criminal Procedure Code, an official authorized under the Amendment, with approval from the Minister of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), shall file such a petition with the court to block infringing data. If the court grants the requested order, the officer may then take steps to independently block such data or order the service provider to do so. Currently, an IP rights holder can request that the DIP, as a competent body per the relevant IP laws, file petitions with the court to block infringing data. The DIP has already prepared a petition template and a list of required supporting documents. However, as there is not yet any precedent for such filings, we must wait and see how the MDES and the court will proceed with this provision. In any case, in the event that the right holder wishes to pursue a criminal lawsuit against the infringer, then he or she must re-file the case with the police.