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Geographical Indications
The Law
Act on Protection of Geographical Indications B.E. 2546, gazetted on October 31, 2003.

Effective Date
April 28, 2004

Definition
“Geographical Indication” means a name, symbol or any other indication used in designating or representing a geographical origin and capable of identifying that goods originating from such a geographical origin have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to the geographical origin.

“Geographical Origin” means the area of a country, zone, region and locality including sea, lake, river, waterway, island, mountain or any other similar area.

“Goods” means articles which can be traded, exchanged or transferred, whether they are natural or are agricultural produces including handicrafts and industrial products.

“Generic Name” means a name generally known as a designation of a particular kind of goods.
 
Registrability of a Geographical Indication
A geographical indication, to be registrable of any goods, shall not have one or more of the following features:

(1) Being a generic name for goods with which the geographical indication applies.

(2) Contravening the public order, morality or public policy.
          
Remarks: For a foreign geographical indication to be protectable, there must be explicit evidence that such a geographical indication is protected in the home country and it has been used continuously until the date of application in Thailand.  

Who May Register?
(1) A government department, government agency, state enterprise, local administration or any other state juristic body having jurisdiction extending to the geographical origin of the goods.

(2) A natural person, a group of persons or a juristic person engaged in the business concerned with the goods using the geographical indication and residing in the geographical origin.

(3) A group of consumers or a body of consumers of the goods using the geographical indication.

Geographical Indications for Foreign Applicants
A foreign applicant wishing to register a foreign geographical indication must also have one or more of the following qualities:

(1) Being a national of a contracting state to a convention or an international agreement concerning the protection of geographical indications to which Thailand is also a contracting state.

(2) Having a domicile or a real business establishment in Thailand or in a contracting state to a convention or an international agreement concerning the protection of geographical indications to which Thailand is also a contracting state.

Examination
An application for registration of a geographical indication shall be examined as to:

(1) Registrability

(2) Eligibility to apply

(3) Formalities (an application must state, among other things, goods using the geographical indication, details about the quality, reputation or any other characteristics of the goods, the relationship between the goods using the geographical indication and the geographical origin).

Opposition
An interested person may file an opposition within 90 days from the publication date. The applicant has 90 days to file a counterstatement. The Registrar’s decision may be appealed within 90 days to the Geographical Indication Board whose decision may be further appealed to the IP Court.

Appeal against Rejection
The Registrar’s rejection of an application for registration of a geographical indication may be appealed within 90 days to the Geographical Indication Board whose decision may be further appealed to the IP Court within 90 days.

Amendment and Cancellation
Minor mistakes or discrepancies in the registration details can be amended at the request of the registrant or by the Registrar ex officio.

If an application is made or if registration is granted unlawfully or as a result of non-disclosure or false statement, the Registrar may ask the Geographical Indication Board to order an amendment or cancellation

If circumstances change after registration so that the geographical indication becomes contravening with Section 5 (registrability), the registration can be cancelled by the Geographical Indication Board at the request of the Registrar.

The Board’s orders above can be appealed to the IP Court within 90 days except for cancellation on the ground the geographical indication is against public order, morality or public policy.

Use and Suspension of Use of Geographical Indications
After registration, the producers in the geographical origin of the designated goods or persons trading in the said goods may use the registered geographical indication.

Use not complying with the stipulated conditions on registration may be suspended for two years. The suspension order may be appealed to the Geographical Indication Board and further to the IP Court respectively. The appeal period is 90 days in both cases.

Protection of Geographical Indications for “Specific Goods”
The following are prescribed by the relevant ministerial regulations dated April 28, 2004 as “specific goods”:

            (1) Rice

            (2) Silk

            (3) Wines

            (4) Spirits

Where a geographical indication for any of the specific goods above is identical or homonymous with another registered or pending geographical indication for certain specific goods and where the geographical origins are different, use of the subsequently registered geographical indication on the specific goods must be clearly followed by a designation of the geographical origin and the country of manufacture of such goods.

Unlawful Use of Geographical Indications
The following acts constitute unlawful use of geographical indications, namely:-

(1) Use of a geographical indication to misrepresent or mislead that goods not emanating from the geographical origin stated in the application come from that geographical origin.

(2) Use of a geographical indication in any manner causing confusion as to the geographical origin or quality, reputation or characteristics of the goods to cause damage to other traders.

Remarks: The above acts shall be deemed lawful if committed before the registration of the geographical indications.

(3) Use of a geographical indication on specific goods not emanating from the geographical origin stated in the application even where the true geographical origin is indicated or even where any word is used or act done to indicate the true geographical origin of the goods, unless such use has taken place continuously for ten years before April 15, 1994 or in good faith before this date.

Remarks: Indication of the true geographical origin of goods shall include use of such words as “kind”, “type”, “style” or the like.

Penalty: The unlawful use mentioned above is punishable with a maximum fine of Baht 200,000.