The forecasted amendments to the Thailand Trademark Act of B.E. 2534 [1991 A.D.] (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’) have now been implemented w.e.f. July 28, 2016. The said amendments to the Act were published in the Royal Gazzette on April 29, 2016. The changes brought by the amendment is likely to make the application and regulation process easier for trademark owners.
The salient features of the amendments to the Act are as follows –
Acceptance of non-traditional marks:
The amendment has included non-traditional mark i.e.sound trademark within the definition of marks, provided the sound must be capable of distinguishing itself from other sounds.
Multiple class applications:
The amendment in the act has allowed filing of multiple class applications. The multiple class applications will enable protection to multiple classes by filing one application and resulting in less paper work, fees and easy process. However, the same can be disadvantageous when the entire application suffers due to the objection raised on one class
No Association of marks:
The amendment has removed the provision of association of marks from the act thereby, enabling the trademark owners to transfer and assign their marks separately.
Amendment in the time-frame:
The amendment in the act has resulted in the reduction of the time-frame for filing disclaimers, appeals, notice of oppositions and responses to office actions from 90 days to 60 days, and further, resulted in an increase in the time frame for submission of registration fees from 30 days to 60 days.
Rise in the government fees:
With the arrival of the amendment, there has been a hike in the government fees including the official fees for filing applications, registrations, oppositions, renewals, appeals.
Grant of grace period:
The amendment has provided a relief to the trademark owners by adding a clause of grace period to allow late renewals for upto six months from the trademark expiry date. However, asurcharge of 20% of the renewal fee is payable on the expiry of grace period.The amendments to the Trademark Act is a welcome step towards Thailand’s accession to the Madrid Protocol and is intended to address existing issues which need to be updated in accordance with international practices, including but not limited, to the widening of definition of trademarks, the reduction in time to file a response and grant of grace period for renewals.