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Protection of Geographical Indications in Thailand

Ananda Intellectual Property assists clients in Thailand and internationally to register geographical indication, certification marks or collective trademarks.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions relating to protection of geographical indications in Thailand. A list of Thai and foreign registered geographical indications (last updated 2013) in Thailand can be accessed here. The full text of the Thai Act on Protection of Geographical Indications can be accessed here.

For information regarding geographical indication protection in other countries, please contact us.

What are geographical indications?

Geographical indications are indications, which identify a good as originating in a territory where a given characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin. Products with a geographical indication (GI) have specific characteristics, which are closely linked to their place of origin and indicate a high level of quality. So, for instance, sparkling wine must come from the Champagne region of France in order to be called “Champagne”, otherwise it may only be referred to as sparkling wine.

Thailand is one of the pioneer countries in Asia regarding the protection of geographical indication and Thai law recognises both local (such as Phetchabun sweet tamarind) and foreign geographical indications (Pisco, Champagne etc.). In addition, the Department of Intellectual Property and the Department of Export Promotion regularly promote Thai geographical indications locally and internationally.

What are the eligible geographical indications in Thailand?

To be accepted for registration in Thailand, a geographical indication should not have one or more of the following features:

  • being a generic name for foods with which the geographical indication applies (for example “Cheddar”);
  • contravening the public order, morality or public policy.

It is important to note as well that for foreign geographical indications to be recognised in Thailand, there must be explicit evidence that such geographical indication is protected in the home country and that it has been used continuously until the date of application in Thailand.

What is the procedure for registration of geographical indications in Thailand?

Applications for geographical indications shall be submitted with the Department of Intellectual Property where they are examined for the following:

  1. Registrability;
  2. Eligibility of applicant to apply;
  3. Other formalities including the specification of the goods, information about quality, reputation or other relevant characteristics of the goods, relationship between the goods specified in the application and their geographical origin.

Only governments, natural persons, groups of natural persons or groups of consumers can file an application for geographical application. There is no need for renewal of a registered trademark application.

The procedure for registering geographical indications in Thailand is reproduced below:

What are the rights conferred by geographical indication protection?

A registered geographical indication is a powerful right, which benefits a group of companies, a region or a state.

A registered geographical indication allows its owner to exclusively use it and to enforce its rights in case of unlawful use.

Unlawful use of a geographical indication include for example:

  • the use of a geographical indication misrepresenting or misleading that goods not emanating from the geographical origin stated in the application come from that geographical origin.
  • the use of a geographical indication in any manner causing confusion as to the geographical origin or quality, reputation or characteristics of the goods to cause damage to other traders.
  • the use of a geographical indication on specific goods not emanating from the geographical origin stated in the application even where the true geographical origin is indicated or even where any word is used or act done to indicate the true geographical origin of the goods.

Geographical indication owners can prevent the use of their geographical indications as trademarks even for dissimilar products (e.g. Champagne used for perfumes). In addition, indication of the true geographical origin of goods shall include use of such words as “kind”, “type”, “style” or the like.  As an example, a sparkling wine not originating from Champagne cannot be legally sold in Thailand if it contains the words “type of champagne” or “Champagne style”. Infringers may be punished up to a fine of 200,000 THB (6,600 USD).

What are the current registered Geographical Indications in Thailand?

Please find here a list of geographical indications accepted for registration in Thailand.

(note: please always check for updates as the list may not always be updated).