What is the Department of Intellectual Property?

The Department of Intellectual Property (the “DIP”) (in Thai: กรมทรัพย์สินทางปัญญา) is the government agency responsible for intellectual property (IP) matters, from creation to commercialization to protection against and suppression of IP violation to human resource development and to investment. To give legal effect to their rights over IP, Thais and foreigners must generally register their ownership over IP transactions with this agency. This article provides a brief overview of what the DIP is and what its responsibilities are.

Thailand’s first trademark registration office was established in 1910 under the purview of the Department of Agriculture and was followed by the enactment of the Trade Marks and Trade Names Act in 1914.  As IP gained importance in international trade and commerce negotiations, King VI established the Department of Commercial Registration (in Thai: กรมทะเบียนการค้า), now known as the Department of Business Development (in Thai: กรมพัฒนาธุรกิจการค้า), in 1924 to, inter alia, take over the registration of trademarks from the Department of Agriculture. Thailand’s gradual enactment and subsequent amendment to IP legislation, including the Patents Act and the Copyright Act, also fell within the scope of the responsibility of the Department of Commercial Registration.

Since its establishment in 1992, the DIP has handled intellectual property matters and is under the supervision of (but at the same time is a separate legal entity from) the Thai Ministry of Commerce which oversees 5 other department-level agencies.

The DIP is primarily responsible for regulating and enforcing the following laws:

  • the Trademarks Act; the Patents Act;
  • the Copyright Act;
  • the Trade Secrets Act;
  • the Protection of Geographical Indications Act;
  • the Optical Disc Production Act; and
  • the Protection of Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act;

The DIP is also involved in the regulation of the following laws, particularly from an IP perspective:

  • the Plant Varieties Protection Act; and
  • the Protection and Promotion of Traditional Thai Medicinal Intelligence Act.

In terms of organization, the DIP is headed by the Director-General and is currently assisted by two Deputy Director-Generals, 4 Assistant Director-Generals, a Secretary of the office of the Secretary, a Director of the Patent Office, a Director of the Trademark Office, a Director of the Copyright Office, a Director of the Office of Intellectual Property, a Director of the Office of Prevention and Suppression of IP Rights Violation, a Director of Intellectual Property Promotion and Development, a Director of Legal Affairs and a Head of Information Technology.

Located in its own building within the Ministry of Commerce complex in Nonthaburi Province (just north of Bangkok), the main points of contact at the DIP for most business people are the Trademark Office, Patents Office and Copyright Office which are responsible for, amongst others, the registration of rights and transactions and the maintenance of a registry (or a depository in the case of copyright) for trademarks, patents and products designs, and copyright respectively.  For more information on these various IP rights within Thailand’s legal framework, click here.

For more information on the DIP, please see the DIP’s website: www.ipthailand.go.th.