South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Using Thai Customs to Protect IPRs

creative picture3Customs agencies can be an IP rights holder’s best friend when it comes to detecting and preventing the movement of infringing goods from one jurisdiction to another.

This article looks into the organisations and systems in place in Thailand which IP rights holders can exploit to better protect their products from infringement. This is an area which is often overlooked but can provide a powerful weapon against piracy and counterfeit product exports.

As always, more help is just a click away: Get in touch with a Helpdesk expert for free, tailored advice for your business.

Customs in Thailand

The Thai customs agency is authorised to implement trade enforcement measures, including checking and detaining suspected infringing goods crossing the border. At present the Customs Act on the Examination of Goods and Prevention of Smuggling gives customs officers the power to search, inspect, and seize pirated copyright and counterfeit trade mark goods, both imported into, and exported from Thailand.

The Export and Import of Goods Act also gives the power to the Minister of Commerce to issue notifications in the Royal Gazette magazine, specifying particular goods that are prohibited from export and import.

Using customs controls to block counterfeits

Thai customs offer an optional registration service for companies to add their products and details of suspected counterfeits to the ‘Customs Watch List’. Registration will help the customs authorities to recognise counterfeit versions of your products, and improve chances of suspect items being stopper from entering or leaving Thailand. Where rights holders have information about specific shipments, they can also work directly with customs to detain them.

At time of writing, only trade marks and copyright works can be recorded with Thai Customs. Applications must be made in Thai and are filed with the Thai Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), or with customs directly. It is recommended to hire a local IP agent to represent your interests and quickly follow up customs notifications, especially if you have no office in Thailand.

The required documents for registration are as follows:

  • Certified copy of the Certificate of Registration (or other adequate documents)
  • Notarised Power of Attorney
  • Letter of guarantee from the applicant (to bear damages that may be suffered by the exporter/importer in the case that goods detained turn out not to be infringing items)
  • Samples of the products

Registration with Thai Customs is free of charge, and there are no costs associated with customs storage of seized goods. Expenses for the destruction of seized goods are often shared among the IPR owners whose goods are destroyed at joint destruction ceremonies.

There is no need to renew registrations, however it is advisable to keep customs and the DIP updated with any changes to existing works, or relevant new IP registrations made in Thailand.

For more information on the registration and enforcement of IPRs through Thai Customs visit their English language website, or get in touch with a Helpdesk expert for free, tailored advice for your business.

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