Thailand: Registering your name as a trademark in Thailand is easy, right?
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Brand owners, celebrities, designers and other well-known personalities usually prefer to use their name as a trademark. This helps the public easily recognize and differentiate their products from competitors. As easy as it may seem to register your name as a trademark, registering such trademarks in Thailand may not be so simple.
Since trademark law does not provide a clear explanation of the registrability of these types of “name” marks, opinions are divided as to whether plain text first and last names are inherently distinctive. Currently, the Trademark Office accepts some and has rejected others for registrations. Below are examples of the current inconsistencies.
There are also inconsistencies at the Supreme Court level. In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the mark “VALENTINO” (a person’s name appearing in single letters) was inherently distinctive and registrable (Supreme Court No. 6616/2560). A year later, the Supreme Court went against this precedent and ruled that the mark “JENNIFER ANISTON” lacked distinctiveness because it was not represented in any stylized format (Supreme Court no. 3499/2561) .
Given the inconsistencies across the board, success is most likely when registering your name in a stylized form. Several stylized names have been successfully registered as trademarks in Thailand:
However, if you have used your name in plain text, we recommend that you carefully document the use of the mark. If your mark is rejected on the grounds that it is not distinctive, this evidence can be used to prove that your mark has acquired distinctiveness and should be registrable. The more evidence you can provide, the more likely you are to successfully register. Planned updates to the examination manual used by examiners in Thailand will likely suggest two years as the minimum period of use to demonstrate acquired distinctiveness.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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