Piracy vendors may face assets seizure

Vendors who sell falsely labelled counterfeit products valued at more than 500,000 baht could face the seizure of their personal assets in the foreseeable future, the Commerce Ministry warned on Monday.

Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar said this was being considered as part of the ministry's commitment this year to tighten its efforts to tackle intellectual property violations.

An amendment bill to the Anti-Money Laundering Act 1999, which makes intellectual property theft a predicate offence, has already been passed by parliament and is awaiting royal appoval, he said.

It will become effective immediately when it is published in the Royal Gazette.

According to Mr Nattawut, the ministry will later propose criteria for penalties relating to intellectual property violations which would include asset or property confiscation.

A predicate offence means any criminal offence that generates proceeds. 

The ministry would try its best to track down the prime offenders, he added.

"We're ready to use the new legislation to confiscate the assets of anybody found to have over 500,000 baht worth of pirated or counterfeit products," he said. According to the ministry, there were 8,400 IP infringement cases last year, 50 of which were valued at over 500,000 baht, mainly involving brand-name products. 

According to Mr Natthawut, as part of the action plans to tackle IP infringement, the Intellectual Property Department plans to call a meeting next week with owners of rental space both at department stores and government buildings as well as internet service providers, asking them for cooperation to help tackle IP violations. 

Related search: intellectual property rights, IP piracy, counterfeit goods, asset seizure

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Writer: Phusadee Arunmas