Vendors who sell pirated and counterfeit products worth over 500,000 baht may see their assets seized in the future, warns the Commerce Ministry.
The plan is part of the ministry's commitment this year to tighten its efforts to tackle intellectual property violations, said Deputy Minister Natthawut Saikua.
The draft amendment to the 1999 Anti-Money Laundering Act, which includes intellectual property infringements as a predicate money-laundering offence, has already sailed through parliament and is awaiting royal endorsement.
The new law will be effective once it is published in the Royal Gazette.
According to Mr Natthawut, the ministry will later propose the criteria of penalties against intellectual property violators covering confiscation of assets or property.
In any case, the ministry will try to track down prime offenders or masterminds, he added.
"We're ready to use the new law to confiscate assets of anybody who is found to have over 500,000 baht worth of pirated and counterfeited products," he said.
The Intellectual Property Department plans to call a meeting next week with owners of rental space both at department stores and state-owned buildings as well as internet service providers, asking them for cooperation to help tackle IP violations.
The department's chief will fly to the United States in mid-February to provide updated information and negotiate on the IP issue.
"We still hope that the US will remove Thailand from its Priority Watch List to Watch List, which is due to be reviewed in April," said Mr Natthawut.
Thailand has been on the Priority Watch List since 2007.
The list carries no threat of sanctions but rather is aimed at shaming governments.
The US Trade Representative (USTR) last year added eight red zones to its list of areas under scrutiny in Thailand.
They are MBK Centre, Chatuchak Market, Siam Square, Sukhumvit Road and Patpong night markets in Bangkok; Karon and Patong beaches in Phuket; IT City in Pattaya; and Rong Klua market at the Aranyaprathet border crossing with Cambodia.
About the author
- Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter