Parallel Importation and Intellectual Property Law in Thailand
Official Conference Proceedings of the Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2018 (Kobe, Japan, 8-10 June 2018), ISSN: 2186-2303, pages 193-203.
14 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018
Date Written: June 8, 2018
Parallel importation normally occurs when goods produced under the protection of intellectual property (IP) laws are placed in one country, and then imported into another country without authorization of the IP owners. The unclear laws and the lack of harmonization on laws related to parallel importation in ASEAN countries make it possible for right holders to rely on their IP rights to prohibit parallel importation of IP products. This can be an obstacle in achieving the objective of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is to create ASEAN single market with the core element of promoting free movement of goods. Such unclear laws can be seen in the Thai Trademark Act 1991 which does not contain any provision relating to parallel importation and exhaustion doctrine. Likewise, although the Thai Patent Act 1979 and Copyright Act 1994 contain the exhaustion provisions which can be applied to parallel importation, such provisions are unclear as to whether they should be applied as national exhaustion or international exhaustion. Hence, this research proposes that these laws should be reformed in order to make them clear and certain. Also, the harmonization of laws relating to parallel importation among ASEAN countries is necessary in order to promote free movement of goods within the Southeast Asia region. This research also contends that the regional exhaustion approach should be the appropriate approach for Thailand and ASEAN, and this regional exhaustion approach should be applied in all areas of IP laws in order to ensure the consistency of these laws.
Keywords: parallel importation, exhaustion of intellectual property rights, Thai intellectual property law, ASEAN Economic Community
JEL Classification: K29, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation