Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) has continued its strategy of enlisting the support of stakeholders from various sectors in the fight against infringement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) by introducing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on advertising practices. This follows the success of last year’s MOU on Online IP Protection, which aimed to tackle issues of intellectual property (IP) infringement on various e-commerce marketplace platforms. That MOU represented Thailand’s efforts in bringing together relevant stakeholders to address online IP infringement issues in a unified and collaborative manner.
The DIP’s latest such cooperative initiative is the MOU on Online Advertising and IPRs. A signing ceremony for the MOU was held on October 28, 2022. The DIP, three advertising associations, and various IPR owners all participated in the event, which took place at the Ministry of Commerce. Tilleke & Gibbins joined to sign the MOU as one of the founding signatory parties.
The major parties to this MOU are:
- the DIP;
- advertising business operators (online advertisement producers and advertisement providers);
- associations related to advertising and media;
- IPR owners—particularly those experiencing IPR infringement problems in Thailand; and
- law firms.
Objectives of the New MOU
The objective of the new MOU on Online Advertising and IPRs is to build and enhance collaboration among IPR owners, advertising business operators, associations, and the DIP, with the goal of preventing and suppressing the production, distribution, and circulation of online IP-infringing advertisements and halting the income flowing to infringers from advertisements posted on IP-infringing websites or applications.
This MOU addresses different issues in comparison to last year’s MOU on Online IP Protection. The latter addressed IP infringing merchandise on e-commerce platforms, whereas the new MOU tackles the issue of IP-infringing advertisements, as well as IP-infringing websites and applications, with more focus on infringing content than on infringing merchandise.
Highlights of the New MOU
A noteworthy practice introduced under this new MOU is that once relevant infringement is found, the DIP may act as an intermediary for IPR owners in coordinating with the relevant advertising business operators and associations to eliminate advertisements on websites and software applications that infringe IPRs, with supporting evidence or as requested by IPR owners and other related parties to the MOU.
As such, IPR owners who join this MOU are likely to gain recognition and receive strong support from the DIP, advertising business operators, and associations to resolve IPR infringement issues specific to online advertising. The level of cooperation from advertising business operators and associations is expected to be greatly improved as a result of joining this MOU.
This development is also significant in light of Thailand’s recent promulgation of amendments to the Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994), introducing a notice-and-takedown system for reporting infringing content hosted by internet service providers. The new MOU on Online Advertising and IPRs harmoniously corresponds with the Thai authorities’ increasingly proactive strategies for tackling online infringement in advertisements, websites, and applications.