Draft declarations issued on distinctiveness and classification


The Thai Department of Intellectual Property has released two draft declarations to local intellectual property professionals regarding revisions to trademark registration policy and procedure. The draft declarations, which are expected to come into force in May, revise the criteria for establishing acquired distinctiveness and highlight changes in procedure necessary for Thailand to adopt the Nice Classification (Eighth Edition).

Under the draft declaration on acquired distinctiveness, a name or word may be allowed registration as a trademark if sufficient evidence is submitted to show that the term has been used to such an extent that it is recognized by the relevant sector of the public. This revision is in line with the jurisprudence of the Thai Supreme Court, which has held that it is not necessary for a party to demonstrate that it has used the term to such an extent that the general public recognizes it as distinguishing the goods or services at issue, recognition of the term by the relevant sector of the public alone is sufficient.

The other draft declaration, once implemented, will help to bring about Thailand's adoption of the Nice Classification. However, it remains to be seen whether the Department of Intellectual Property will change its policy of refusing to accept broad or general descriptions of goods, even if such descriptions are acceptable under the classification.

Steve M W Benhar, Dej-Udom & Associates, Bangkok

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