Thailand presses on with IP measures

Thailand presses on with IP measures

Counterfeit products violate intellectual property law.
Counterfeit products violate intellectual property law.

Thailand vows to move ahead with plans to tackle intellectual property (IP) infringements even as the US recently announced it will exclude Thailand from its Notorious Markets List both for physical and online markets.

According to Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, it is the first time in four years the US has not identified any notorious markets either physical or online in Thailand that engage in selling counterfeit and pirated goods.

The US government also praised Thailand's actions in cracking down on IP infringements.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Feb 17 released the findings of its "2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy".

The list highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.

The 2021 list identifies 42 online markets and 35 physical markets that are reported to engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy. It specifies for the first time AliExpress and the WeChat e-commerce ecosystem, two significant China-based online markets that reportedly facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting.

China-based online markets Baidu Wangpan, DHGate, Pinduoduo and Taobao continue to be listed, as well as nine physical markets located within China that are known for the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods.

The Notorious Markets List does not constitute an exhaustive list of all markets reported to deal in or facilitate commercial-scale copyright piracy or trademark counterfeiting, nor does it reflect findings of legal violations or the US government's analysis of the general IP protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned. Such analysis is contained in the US's annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April each year.

"The lack of Thai listings can be attributed to the government and related authorities continuing to crack down on counterfeit and pirated goods," said Mr Vuttikrai.

"The latest findings by the USTR will definitely benefit Thailand's image and encourage business operators here to continue developing creative work, innovation and technology. It should also increase the confidence of IP rights owners knowing Thailand is here to protect them, which should eventually attract investment.

"Thailand remains committed this year to moving forward with suppressing IP infringement as well as promoting the creation and commercial use of IP. IP can add value to products and services to increase competitiveness."

As part of continued measures to prevent infringement of online IP rights (IPR), the department recently called for cooperation from advertising agencies to avoid supporting pirated content.

The department is pursuing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ad agencies to protect IPR on the internet, noting ad agencies can help prevent infringement and protect copyright by avoiding sponsorship of providers found to use pirated movies, music and drama series via online channels.

In January last year, the department and related government agencies signed an MoU to protect IPR on the internet with Shopee, Lazada, JD Central and IPR owners.

The move aims to curb online infringements that may create adverse effects for economic growth, trade and investment, while lowering consumer trust in the online trading system.

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