Thailand’s Online Dispute Resolution Platform for Intellectual Property
Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) officially launched its online dispute resolution services (ODR) for intellectual property cases in January 2021. The ODR platform was developed through cooperation between the DIP and the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) under the Memorandum of Understanding re: Development of Online Dispute Resolution Procedures between DIP and THAC signed on 7 December 2020.
The ODR platform, facilitated by THAC, operates under the name “Talk DD” and is accessible via https://odr.thac.or.th/auth/login, THAC’s login page. This online platform can be used for cases related to copyright, patent and trademark infringements. The ODR/Talk DD platform aims to facilitate and support out-of-court dispute resolutions, as well as decrease the number of cases filed to the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Jurin Laksanawisit, stated that the new system: allows cases to be filed online, thus enabling settlement sessions via online chats and video conferences; and allows fully online formal settlement processes to be achieved faster, facilitating more convenient agreements with less chance of confrontation between the two sides, and at a lower cost.
It is claimed that “Talk DD” is both easy to access and use. Mr. Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property, said: “The operation reflects the efficiency in utilising technology to improve the quality of services for a more convenient and faster process, which can be completed regardless of timing or location. It will reduce travel expenses and administration expenses because it can be wholly operated electronically. It also reduces the number of lawsuits; this aligns with the purpose of the mediation process for intellectual property disputes.”
The first dispute request was submitted on the Talk DD Platform on 8 January 2021. After the parties agreed to the ODR process, the DIP acted as the intermediary for both parties to negotiate. On 11 January 2021, the dispute was resolved and the parties signed a memorandum of agreement to settle the dispute.
This first online dispute resolution case via Talk DD only took two working days to reach settlement. This is significantly faster compared to the traditional mediation and settlement process of the DIP. It also eliminates the time spent for paper submission of request forms, dispatchment of negotiation invitation letters and arrangement of negotiation meetings at the DIP. Under the traditional process, it would generally take at least approximately 45 days for the parties to meet, discuss and resolve the dispute.
However, it should be noted that in order to use the Talk DD platform/service, the user must create an account on the platform. Once an account has been set up, a request for an online mediation on the Talk DD platform can be submitted without charge. In such regard, the claimant needs to fill-in basic information regarding the dispute, including the e-mail address of the other party for the invitation to the online mediation proceedings. Once the parties both agree to the online proceedings and sign the confidentiality agreement for the ODR, the process will be commenced entirely through the online system, e.g. making appointments, negotiating via chat rooms, video conferences, and drafting and signing a settlement agreement. Although English is available, it does not completely reflect the information stipulated in Thai and therefore the Talk DD platform currently seems to be limited to Thai nationals.