The Licensing Facilitation Act B.E. 2558 (2015) (LFA), implemented on July 21, 2015, requires government authorities that register and/or grant licenses—such as the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP)—to publish public manuals disclosing the rules, procedures, requirements, costs, and periods of time that relate to granting the licenses. The rationale behind the LFA is to expedite registration procedures with government authorities across Thailand.
Under the LFA, the DIP has published 33 public manuals to date, issued by five offices, including public manuals related to patent registration, international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, patent design registration, and trademark registration. The public manuals specify the relevant laws, list all of the required steps, and estimate timelines and workflow, which the laws do not provide.
This article presents an overview of the important changes introduced by the LFA regarding timelines of patents, design patents, petty patents, and trademark registrations procedures.
The total time to process a patent registration from filing to grant is within 55 months, which includes 12.5 months from the patent application to publication, 38.5 months for substantive examination, and 20 days to grant and issue a patent letter.
One significant change introduced by the LFA relates to the DIP’s patent registration procedure, and specifically, the deadline to submit formal documents. Prior to July 21, 2015, a patent application had to be filed with certain formal documents, including a power of attorney, and if applicable, a deed of assignment and a statement of the applicant’s right to apply for a patent.
If these formal documents were not submitted with the patent application, then a request for a 90-day extension, counted from the Thai filing date, was required to file the patent application. In addition, two further extension requests were previously available—90 days and then 30 days—meaning that 210 days were provided to file the requisite documents.
From July 21, 2015, onward, if the formal documents are not filed at the same time as the patent application, they must be submitted within the non-extendable deadline of 90 days from the date of filing the application with the DIP. Failure to comply will result in the application being deemed abandoned.
There are exceptions in which the submission deadlines remain unchanged, and they apply to the submission deadline of the priority document, if applicable, which is still 16 months from the first filing date of the base application; and the deadline to submit a complete Thai translation of the specification, which is still 90 days from the Thai filing date. All of these deadlines are non-extendable.
A summary of relevant changes to the deadlines is set out below.
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The total time to process a patent design registration from filing to grant is within 15 months, which includes 8 months and 2 days from the patent design application to publication, 6 months to conduct a substantive examination, and 2 days to grant and issue a patent design letter.
The total time to process a petty patent registration from filing to grant is within three months, which excludes the publication period of 12 months after grant for an interested person to file a request for substantive examination of the petty patent.
The total time to register a trademark is 16 months, which includes 11 months to examine the registrability of an applied-for mark, 3 months to publish a mark, and 30 days to grant and issue a registration certificate.
The LFA has also amended and established other timelines that relate to trademark and patent registration information, assignment of trademark and patent rights, patent and trademark license registration, renewal of trademark registration, and annuity payment, among others.
A summary of the important timelines to register intellectual property rights is shown below.
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Under Section 10 of the LFA, the relevant government authority must complete the registration of these intellectual property rights within the timelines stated in the public manuals. If the authority cannot complete the registration within the timelines, it must notify each applicant in writing every seven days of the reason for the delay in granting the registration. A copy of this written notification must be submitted to the Public Section Development Committee.
The LFA’s new public manuals, procedures, and timelines should provide impetus for government authorities that register and/or grant licenses to hasten Thailand’s patent and trademark registration procedures. If they are able to closely observe and meet the timelines, Thailand will bolster its competitiveness, and strengthen its image as a reliable and transparent jurisdiction for intellectual property registration.