Online IP in the crosshairs

Online IP in the crosshairs

Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai
Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai

Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai has instructed the Intellectual Property Department to speed up tackling online intellectual property (IP) infringements.

He said online platforms provide people with an opportunity to sell products that infringe on IP rights, harming entrepreneurs that own the IP and marring Thailand's reputation.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are being urged to enhance their understanding of IP, with an emphasis on registering for protection of diverse IP categories such as copyrights, patents and trademarks, said Mr Phumtham.

Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said the department signed a memorandum of understanding with leading online platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, TikTok Shop and 30 rights owners to prevent the sale of products that infringe on IP on these platforms.

The rights holders are allowed to promptly notify the platforms for immediate removal if they identify the listing of products that infringe on IP on those platforms, said Mr Vuttikrai.

If the platform refuses to take action, a report can be filed with the department, which will coordinate with the platforms for the prompt removal of the products.

Past notifications have resulted in the immediate removal of such products from the platforms, he said.

The department is attempting to coordinate with Facebook and Instagram, with the former reportedly developing new tools to manage IP infringement more efficiently, said Mr Vuttikrai.

For copyright infringement of movies and songs, he said if business owners identify the infringement on any websites, they can report it to the department or the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to initiate legal proceedings.

A court order can close down websites or even the entire domain, said Mr Vuttikrai.

The department is also involved in discussions with advertising associations to end ads on websites that violate the law, such as online gambling and adult content, aiming to cut off their revenue channels, he said.

According to Mr Vuttikrai, recent successes in addressing IP infringement on platforms such as Lazada and Shopee include the suspension of 960 listings.

The product infringements spanned various categories, such as auto parts, shoes, copyrighted songs, clothing, cosmetics and toner cartridges.

In the first 11 months of this year, 88 URLs were closed under the Computer Crime Act, Section 20(3), while law enforcement handled 181 cases resulting in the seizure of 71,770 items valued at 25.6 million baht.

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