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Thai Law Insights

Getting Closer to Specialized Court

The Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (“IP&IT Court”) of Thailand

Aphiradee Kitichaichananon

Since Thailand became a member of the World Trade Organization ("WTO"), successive Thai Governments have been committed to implement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPs Agreement") to provide adequate and effective legal mechanisms to protect intellectual property and to promote foreign investment. In fact, the Thai Government in 1997 went beyond its obligation under Article 41(5) of TRIPs Agreement by establishing the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (the "Central IP & IT Court") as a specialized court.

The Central IP & IT Court:

The Central IP & IT Court was established by "The Act for Establishment of and Procedure for Intellectual Property and International Trade Court B.E.2539 (1996)" (the "Act"). The Central IP & IT Court, inaugurated on 1 December 1997 has nationwide jurisdiction to adjudicate the cases concerning intellectual property ("IP") and international trade ("IT").

Career Judges & Associate Judges:

As the characteristics of IP and IT cases may be more complex than ordinary civil or criminal cases, such cases are adjudicated by career judges who have detailed knowledge and understanding of IP and IT along with certain appointed associate judges who are neutral experts on IP and IT matters.


The Central IP&IT Court has jurisdiction over both civil and criminal cases regarding IP and civil cases regarding IT:

  • civil and criminal cases concerning IP legislation, i.e., cases based on the Trademark, Copyright and Patent Acts and, Section 271-275 of the Criminal Code;
  • civil cases arising from agreements on technology transfers or licensing; and
  • civil cases concerning international sale, exchange of goods or financial instruments, services, carriage, insurance, and other related legal actions, etc.

In addition to the above, its jurisdiction covers other matters as prescribed in the Act.

In the event there is a dispute regarding the jurisdiction of this specialized court, such dispute shall be submitted to the President of the Supreme Court. His ruling shall be final.

The Rules of The Court:

The proceedings in the Central IP&IT Court usually take considerably less time than the General Courts. The Chief Judge of the Central IP&IT Court, with approval of the President of Supreme Court, is empowered to issue the Rules of the Court. The Rules of the Court provide new procedures which are remarkably different from the ordinary procedures provided in the Civil or Criminal Procedure Codes and facilitate a speedy, efficient and fair trial. Procedures include pre-trial conference, submission of deposition in lieu of hearing a witness, interim injunction, the use of video conference for hearing and, admission of computer records, etc.

Considering to the use of video conference, the testimony of witnesses outside the court or overseas via video conference is acceptable. This rule has changed the usual procedure of examination of witnesses only within the court room.

At present, even though a new amendment to the Civil Procedure Act contemplates taking testimony through video conference, the President of the Supreme Court has not yet issued rules concerning testimony through video conference.