The Thai Parliament has now approved for the Cabinet to proceed with Thailand’s accession to the Madrid Protocol. This paves the way for Thailand to join the Madrid System, which allows trademark owners to protect a mark in several countries by filing one application with their national trademark office.

Following this important step, the Parliament must also move ahead with approving amendments to the Trademark Act to implement the Madrid Protocol. Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property has drafted the necessary amendments and they are currently under review by the Council of State, after which they will need to be approved through the legislative process. This process is expected to take approximately six months.

Thailand will then need to proceed with depositing its instruments of accession with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization, together with any associated declarations and notifications. These declarations and notifications are very important, as they will specify the scope of Thailand’s obligations under the Madrid System.

As the process unfolds, trademark owners are anxious to learn when Thailand will actually move ahead with implementing the Protocol. With ASEAN Economic Community integration approaching, Thailand has committed itself to becoming a member of the Madrid System by 2015. The recent Parliamentary approval for accession indicates that Thailand may be set to proceed with implementation ahead of schedule—likely by sometime in 2014.