Domain Name Disputes in Thailand: How to Deal with the Pitfalls of the Country’s Domain Registration Policy – Intellectual Property
Thailand: Domain Name Disputes in Thailand: How to Handle the Pitfalls of the Country’s Domain Registration Policy
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In Thailand, bad faith domain name registrations can present a unique challenge for brand owners.
Depending on the current domain registration policy, Thai domain names may be based on the registered name of a business or organization, or on a trademark, depending on the category of the domain name. When Thailand’s domain name registrar, the Thai Network Information Center Foundation (THNIC), reviews applications for new domain names, it only considers whether the applicant meets these criteria – not whether the application was submitted. in bad faith, such as when a company uses someone else’s trademark without permission.
Registering a domain name in Thailand is a first-to-file system, so if all the criteria are met, THNIC must authorize the registration. There is no opposition or cancellation procedure, which makes it impossible for an interested person, as well as THNIC itself, to invalidate a domain name registered in Thailand.
Disputes between two legitimate owners
Disputes sometimes arise between trademark owners and companies registered in Thailand, such as third-party companies, local distributors, or even authorized trademark licensees who exploit the policy loophole identified above.
For example, in a recent case, a trademark owner found that his Thai distributor may have registered a company name containing his registered trademark, and then registered that name as a domain name, without the consent of the trademark owner. Fortunately, both parties had a strong business relationship as a supplier and distributor; after amicable negotiation, the local distributor agreed to withdraw the disputed domain name. However, if both parties had insisted on their legitimate rights to the disputed name, the case should have gone to court, as THNIC does not get involved in such disputes and does not offer any dispute resolution mechanism.
Trademark owners faced with such a dispute have two options: initiate proceedings with the Intellectual Property and International Trade Tribunal (IP & IT Tribunal) or negotiate with the domain name holder. The advantages and disadvantages of each solution are identified below:
Of course, the best course of action for trademark owners is to take proactive steps that minimize the risk of falling victim to a bad faith domain name registration in Thailand. One way to do this is to review trademark portfolios, select very important trademarks, register and maintain them as domain names to prevent unauthorized third parties from registering the names. Another way to guard against acts of bad faith is to simply remain vigilant. Many companies actively monitor their brands for unauthorized activity. Extending it to cover domain names as well can alert the brand owner to potential issues before they become serious threats.
Laws and regulatory loopholes can be very frustrating and damaging to businesses, but knowing the law and understanding its potential pitfalls can help businesses address challenges strategically.
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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