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The Commerce Ministry of Thailand has teamed up with e-commerce firms and IP owners to combat online infringement.
Speaking after signing a MOU on the protection of IP on the internet with Shopee, Lazada, JD Central and IP owners, Jurin Laksanawisit, Commerce Minister, said the move aims to curb online infringement that may create adverse effects for economic growth, trade and investment, while lowering consumer trust in the online trading system.
E-commerce giants such as Alibaba and Amazon are left out because they are not that popular in Thailand according to Kowit Somwaiya, managing partner at LawPlus in Bangkok. “Shopee, Lazada and JD Central are the most popular e-commerce platforms amongst local users and IP infringers — the MOU with these platforms is a good start.”
Laksanawisit says that the MOU has two main objectives: to disable online sales of infringing products, and to provide IP knowledge and awareness to online merchants.
Intellectual property protection will increase Thailand’s competitiveness by using innovations and technologies as well as adding value to products and services, he says.
Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, director-general of the IP department, says that authorities already conducted 231 raids and seized 44,953 items last year.
“The infringing products were mainly consumer and fashion products such as clothing, shoes, watches, sun-glasses, lady handbags and cosmetics,” says Somwaiya.
Since 2018, more than 1,500 websites have been blocked due to infringing content under the Computer Crime Act, says Leewiraphan.
“Blocking 1,500 infringing websites in three years is a success but not enough! Infringing products are sold mainly via pages on e-commerce platforms and delivered by independent delivery companies and postal services — this is the main reason why the MOU with the cooperation from e-commerce platforms is important,” Somwaiya says. “Blocking infringing websites and taking down infringing pages and posts from e-commerce platforms need to be carried out non-stop and side by side with offline enforcement measures.”
“The MOU will help ensure Thailand’s IP protection and enforcement system and establish the appropriate environment for the growth of online trading,” says Leewiraphan.
“The department is desperate for direct cooperation from copyright and website owners to make the suppression efforts more effective,” he says.
In a related development, he added that the department has set up an alert system to remind business operators about foreign patents which are about to expire, focusing mainly on medicines, food, agricultural machinery and industrial products.
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