Parallel importation normally occurs when the goods produced under the protection of intellectual property (IP) laws are placed in one country, and then imported into another country without authorization of the local IP owners. The unclear laws and the lack of harmonization on laws related to parallel importation in ASEAN countries make it possible for right holders to rely on their IP rights to prohibit parallel importation of IP products. This can be an obstacle in achieving the objective of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is to create ASEAN single market with the core elements of promoting free movement of goods. The Thai Trademark law does not solve such problem since it does not contain the exhaustion provision and does not mention about the parallel importation. Also, although the Thai Patent law and the Thai Copyright law contain exhaustion provisions which can apply to the parallel importation, such provisions are unclear as to whether they should be applied as national exhaustion or international exhaustion. Hence, this article proposed that the reform of these laws should be carried out in order to make them clear and certain. The harmonization of laws relating to parallel importation among ASEAN countries is unavoidable in order to promote free movement of goods within the Southeast Asia region. This article contends that the EU regional exhaustion approach should be the appropriate approach for Thailand and ASEAN, while the application of such exhaustion regime in all areas of IP laws should be consistent with each other.
Noppanun Supasiripongchai, University of Phayao, Thailand
Stream: Politics, Public Policy, Law & Criminology
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