National symbols prohibited from registration


The Thai Minister of Commerce has issued a notification that renders certain signs non-registrable under the Trademark Act BE 2543 (AD 1991). Signs similar to or comprising the following are prohibited from registration as trademarks, service marks, certification marks or collective marks:

  • Chang Thai, the Thai elephant (also known as elephas maximus);

  • the yellow flower of the native Ratchapruek tree (also known as Pudding Pine, Indian Laburnum and Golden Shower); and

  • Sala Thai, the Thai pavilion.

The notification followed a cabinet resolution of October 2 2001 recognizing that the Thai Elephant, the Ratchapruek flower and the Thai pavilion are symbols of the national Thai identity.

While the ministerial notification does not detail the background for identification of the symbols, the Thai elephant is generally considered as the national animal of Thailand and March 13 has been recognized as Thailand's Elephant's Day. The Ratchapruek flower recently became a symbol of Thailand's Father's Day on December 5 as it is also the birthday of King Rama IX, who was born on a Monday, the 'yellow' day of the week in Thai culture. Lastly, Sala Thai is a traditional Thai pavilion that reflects the distinctive Thai architecture and design.

Dej-Udom & Associates, Bangkok

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