14 February 2019Trademarks

Thai ‘special investigations’ unit to tackle high-value counterfeits

Thailand has raised the financial threshold determining which IP cases will be handled by the country’s  Department of Special Investigations (DSI).

In  advice issued to clients, the Thai office of south-east Asian law firm Tilleke & Gibbins outlined the changes to the law which will see the DSI only take on IP cases of significant financial value.

The reforms, which came into effect on February 5, mean that only cases involving suspected counterfeit goods with a market value in excess of THB 10 million (US$ 319,024) will now be investigated by the DSI.

This includes cases in which potential damages awarded for the case could reasonably be expected to meet the same threshold. The alleged offender in any case taken by the DSI must be believed to operate warehouses or centres for the distribution, manufacture or sale of counterfeit goods of this value.

According to Tilleke & Gibbins, the reform marks a significant change in protocol for IP enforcement in Thailand, “as the DSI could previously use its significant resources to investigate serious cases that were, nevertheless, of relatively low direct financial value”.

The new reforms are an addition to to The Special Case Investigation Act B.E 2547 (2004), which detailed the DSI’s jurisdiction over “special cases”.

The DSI operates independently of the Thai police, dealing only with cases of a more serious nature. IP infringement cases which do not meet the new criteria for investigation by the DSI will now be handled by the police.

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