IP crimes may be included in anti-money laundering legislation
The Thai Council of State has agreed to consider the Anti-Money Laundering Office's (AMLO) proposal to bring intellectual property (IP) infringement and counterfeiting offences under the Anti-Money Laundering Law.
Under the proposed amendments, it will be an offence to transfer, convert or receive funds or property arising from trademark or other IP-related offences for the purposes of hiding or concealing the sources of the funds. Offenders will face penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to Bt200,000. Offending corporations will face fines of up to Bt2 million. More importantly, AMLO will be able to seize property or other assets used in the commission of the predicate offences.
Thus, brand owners can look forward to having a new tool in their ongoing campaigns against counterfeiting operations in Thailand. Inclusion of trademark offences as a predicate offence for money laundering violations is also expected to appease Thailand's trading partners in Japan and the United States, as both countries are insisting on stiffer sanctions against IP infringers in their negotiations for free trade agreements with Thailand.
Edward J Kelly, Tilleke & Gibbins International Ltd, Bangkok
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