Thailand declares war on piracy, intellectual property violation


BANGKOK, Jan 18 – Thailand will set up a special centre to crack down on intellectual property infringement with tough government action against violators, according to Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua.

The minister said the Policy Committee of the National Intellectual Property Bureau has moved to set up the Operations Centre for the Suppression of Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement to deal strictly with the long-standing issue. Mr Nattawut himself will head the centre.

Several IP-related laws such as legislation concerning copyright, patent, trademarks, food and drug regulation, and consumer protection will be applied to take legal action against IP violators, Mr Nattawut said.

The centre will also monitor money trails, tax payment records and money laundering activities of piracy suspects, he said, adding that the authorities are keeping a close watch on the movement of a major producer of IP-infringed products, his warehouse and distribution channels in Bangkok and upcountry.

An arrest of the violator is imminent, he said.

Mr Nattawut said the IP meeting on Thursday also agreed to intensify an effort to have Thailand removed from the Priority Watch List (PWL) in a report prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative under Section 301 as amended to the Trade Act.

Thailand is accelerating action to prevent IP infringement such as amending the copyright law to protect IP on the Internet and customs law to empower authorities to confiscate pirated merchandise.

The measures should materialise in time for the next PWL evaluation in April, the minister said, adding that proprietors of commercial complexes where pirated products are sold will be invited by the authorities to be briefed on the government’s anti-piracy policy.