In Thailand, there are generally four specialized courts of the first instance which have been established to handle complex business-focused matters, i.e. the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, the Central Tax Court, the Central Bankruptcy Court and the Central Labor Court.
Today, we will look at an overview of the court which has primary jurisdiction over international trade and intellectual property cases, i.e. the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (the “IPIT Court”), and will briefly discuss what kind of business cases will need to be settled through the IPIT Court and to what extent the IPIT Court will differ from ordinary courts.
Rationale for Court Establishment
The reason behind the establishment of the IPIT Court is twofold. First,
there has been a growing recognition that disputes involving international trade and intellectual property rights have become more complex and thus should be handled by a specialized court
rather than by typical ordinary courts. Second, the IPIT Court is part of an attempt by the Thai Government as a member of the World Trade Organization to implement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights so as to provide adequate and effective legal mechanisms to protect intellectual property and to promote foreign investment.
Disputes Covered by Court
The IPIT Court has nationwide jurisdiction to adjudicate civil and criminal cases on intellectual property and civil cases on international trades. Some sample cases could include disputes under software licensing agreements, infringements of trademarks or copyrights, disputes arising from cross-border sale and purchase agreements and cases regarding international letters of credit and trust receipts. In the event of disputes as to which cases should fall under the jurisdiction of the IPIT Court or the jurisdiction of any other courts, such disputes will be referred to the President of the Thai Supreme Court for final and conclusive determination.
Given that the IPIT Court is a specialized court, judges appointed to the IPIT Court are therefore different slightly from those of ordinary criminal and civil courts. In particular, at least two career judges and one associate judge must be present to form a quorum for adjudication, and any judgment or order requires a majority vote.
These judges generally possess competent knowledge or expertise in legal matters related to intellectual property or international trade.
The legal proceedings in the IPIT Court usually take substantially less time than typical ordinary Thai courts and are generally continuous without adjournment until the hearing is finished. At the conclusion of the hearing, the IPIT Court would issue a judgment or order. The proceedings which differ from those of ordinary courts include such things as pre-trial conferencing, submission of documents in the English language, use of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) communications through the IPIT Court’s system for the exchange and lodging of petitions or answers. An appeal against any judgment or order of the IPIT Court must be submitted to the Thai Supreme Court.
This material has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice. SBC Interlaw is a regional law firm with a reputation for providing the highest quality and result-driven legal services to both corporate and individual clients. To find out how our professionals can help you in this matter in Thailand, please feel free to contact us through the “Contact Us” button at www.sbcinterlaw.com or send an enquiry to our law firm in Thailand.
The Act for Establishment of, and Procedure for, Intellectual Property and International Trade Court B.E. 2539 (1996)
Study on Specialized Intellectual Property Courts, a report by International Intellectual Property Institute 25 January 2012