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      Patents

The Patent Act B.E. 2522 (1979) as amended by Patent Act No. 2, B.E. 2535 (1922) and Patent Act No.3, B.E. 2542 (1992) protects inventions, product designs, patents or petty patents granted in Thailand. In order to be patented, an invention must have novelty, or must involve an inventive step and be capable of industrial application. Similarly, a product design must have novelty and be able to be put to an industrial use, which includes handicrafts.

 Some inventions cannot be patented including those relating to innovations in biotechnology, scientific and mathematical rules and theories, computer programs, as well as inventions that might constitute a threat to public order, morality, health, or welfare.

A simpler alternative to the regular patent is the petty patent. In order for an invention to be considered for protection by a petty patent, it must have novelty and be capable of industrial application. However it need not involve an inventive step.

 

The patent Act only guarantees protection for patents granted by the Thai Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce. Therefore, a Thai law does not protect a foreign patent unless it has been registered in Thailand.

 

 Patents are valid for 20 years for patented inventions, 10 years for patented product designs, or 6 years for petty patented inventions and to use the words “Thai Patent” or “Thai Patent Pending.” The period of validity commences from the date of application. It may take some time for the application to be considered and the patent approved.

 Under certain circumstances a patent holder can give a license or compulsory license may be issued to another party for a patent. This may occur if a patented or patent-pending invention or design is not being produced, sold, or publicly offered or if it is being sold at an unreasonable high price three years after the patent has been issued or four years after the patent application has been pending. The license agreement for and the assignment of the patent must be in writing and must be registered in compliance with the requirements and procedures stipulated in the relevant Ministerial Regulation.

 Penalties for infringement of patents registered in Thailand may involve imprisonment for up to two years, a fine not exceeding Baht 400,000, or both.

 If the infringing party is a juristic person, the operator or representative may also be subject to punishment unless it is proved that the juristic person carried out the infringing activities without the operator’s or representative’s knowledge or consent.

 
Copyright

Copyright in Thailand are governed by the Copyright Act, B.E. 2537 (1994). The Copy right Act provides copyright protection to a range of creative works, expressed in the form of literature, drama, visual and graphic arts, music, audio-visual works, cinema, sound recordings, sound, video, and other broadcasts, or any other work in the literary, scientific, or artistic domain of the author, irrespective of the mode or manner in which the works are expressed including rights of performers. The Copyright Act provides expanded definitions for each category.

 Copyright protection does not extend to steps, processes, systems, organizations, or instructions for use. Nor does copyright protection cover thoughts, principles, findings, or theories in science or mathematics.

 The author of a work holds the copyright to that work. The Copyright Act defines “author” as the person who makes or causes to come into being any creative work in which copyright subsist. Under the Copyright Act, the acquisition of copyright is automatic and need not be registered.

Generally the Copyright Act protect against infringement by reproducing, adapting, publishing, or renting a copyrighted work. However, the Copyright Act states that certain uses of a creative work, such as for research, education, teaching, or personal purpose do not constitute a copyright infringement.

The Copyright Act stipulates that Thailand will also accord copyright protection under “National Treatment” basis to citizens of and works created or first published within the countries that are parties to international copyright conventions to which Thailand is also a party. Thailand is a signatory member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Under the principle of in general, a copyright is mostly valid during the lifetime of the creator, plus 50 years. When the creator is a juristic person, protection extends for 50 years from the date of creation first publication. The period of protection is reduced to 25 years for applied artistic work.

A copyright can be transferred or assigned either partially to in whole. It can also be licensed to another person for use or for exercising rights in relation to it.

The maximum penalties for copyright infringement are a fine of up to Baht 800,000 or a prison sentence of up to four years, or both. Copyright infringement includes reproducing, adapting, or communicating a copyrighted work to the public without the copyright owner’s authorization. It also includes selling, offering for sale, leasing, importing, publishing or distributing unauthorized duplicates of a copyrighted work.

If the offence is committed by a juristic person, all directors and managers must be able to prove that the act of the juristic person was done without their knowledge or consent. If they cannot satisfy the court accordingly, they will be considered joint offenders.

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