In July 2015, the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) of Thailand imposed non-extendable deadlines relating to the prosecution and registration of intellectual property rights. These stringent deadlines came in the advent of the Licensing Facilitation Act (LFA), which aims to improve the global competitiveness rankings of Thailand and encourage foreign investment. As such, the LFA makes it compulsory for public authorities to create a public Official Rules guidebook and indicate the regulations, procedures, requirements, official fees and, most importantly, the exact timeline within which filings must be done.

For patent applications, the rigorous deadlines hereunder have to be followed. Otherwise, failure to submit the formal documents on time may result in an absolute objection of the entire patent application. (See Figure 1.)

Moreover, the DIP has published a timeline relating to the registration of trademark and patent rights. If the DIP does not complete the required process within the designated timeline, the LFA requires the relevant government authority to notify each applicant and Public Section Development Committee every seven days and explain the reason for the delay. This is the most significant provision to ensure the efficiency of DIP officers.

The DIP also implemented a timeline for which certain processes have to be completed by DIP Registrars. A summary of the new patent and trademark timelines are in Figures 2 and 3.

There is no doubt that Thailand is serious in improving its IP registration system. It is expected that the DIP will issue more directives to ensure that the above timelines are strictly followed. Hence, it is important for IP rights holders to be vigilant in respect of Thai deadlines so as not to let their IP rights slip away due to a mere technicality.

Patent Applications: Non-extendable Deadlines

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Figure 1.

Patents Timeline

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Figure 2.

Trademarks Timeline

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Figure 3. 

This article was first published in Asia IP on January 6, 2016. For more information, please visit http://www.asiaiplaw.com/ .