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Design Patent Protection in Thailand

Ananda Intellectual Property assist clients in Thailand and worldwide with the filing and prosecution of their design patents.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions relating to protection of design patent in Thailand. The timeline for design patent protection in Thailand can be accessed here. An English translation of the Thai Patent Act is also available here.

Why protecting design patents?

Design patents are very popular in Thailand both among foreign and Thai applicants. The purpose of a design patent is to protect the ornamental aspects or aesthetics of an article including features pertaining to the shape, configuration or pattern.

In accordance with Thai Law, one design application must only contain one design. Therefore, if you wish to file more than one embodiment of the design, it is imperative to file a separate design application for each embodiment.

It is important to submit several views of the design to be protected such as: front view, back view, right view, left view, bottom view, top view and perspective view.

These views can be either drawings or pictures of the product.

The design of Crocs ® shoes applied to mobile phone case and The actual product
The design of Crocs ® shoes applied to mobile phone case and The actual product

What are the requirements for a design patent to be accepted for registration?

Because a design patent provides the patentee with a monopoly to manufacture, sell and use the protected design, the requirements to obtain design patent protection are quite high.

There are two fundamental requirements to obtain design patent protection in Thailand: the design must be new and the design must be capable of industrial application.

What does “novelty” mean?

The novelty requirement is the first essential requirement for a design patent to be granted in Thailand. Thai law specifies that an invention (here a design) is not new if it forms part of the state of the art. The state of art includes any of the following inventions:

  • an invention which was widely known or used by others in the country before the date of application for the patent;
  • an invention the subject matter of which was described in a document or printed publication disclosed to the public in Thailand or in a foreign country before the date of application for the patent (for example in a scientific magazine or thesis);
  • an invention for which a patent was granted in Thailand or overseas;
  • an invention for which a patent was applied in a foreign country more than eighteen months before the date of application for the patent;
  • an invention for which a patent was applied in this or a foreign country and the application was published before the date of the application.

It should be noted that in evaluating whether an invention is new, the Patent Examiner will not only consider inventions already granted protection in Thailand but will perform a novelty check in international patent databases and check patents granted overseas. More and more frequently the Examiner will also conduct searches in non-patent literature (publications, studies and information available online).

Patent applicants shall therefore be aware that their design patent applications shall be filed before disclosure of the invention and that the first party to file a patent application has exclusive rights to the invention.

What does “Industrial application” mean?

The requirement of industrial application is usually easy to meet as Thai Patent Examiners have a broad interpretation in this regard. Any invention is deemed capable of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry, including handicrafts, agriculture and commerce.  However inventions with a merely academic or theoretical application would not qualify under this requirement.

Are partial designs protected in Thailand?

It is not possible to protect partial design in Thailand, however it is likely that such situation will evolve in the coming future as designs are an extremely important asset for Thai companies.

What is the design patent registration process for patents for invention?

We hereby provide a simplified overview of the national patent registration procedure for design patents in Thailand.

It is important to note that Design Patent applications are substantially examined in Thailand and that therefore design patent applications must satisfy the condition of novelty.

Design patents registration procedure (simplified)
Design patents registration procedure (simplified)

Is Thailand a party to the Hague Agreement?

Thailand is not currently a member state to the Hague Agreement. However it is foreseen that Thailand will join such system by 2015 as it is one of the objectives of the ASEAN blueprint.