Official vows to wipe out pirated goods

Pirated goods will be wiped out from six locations in Thailand within the next month, Intellectual Property Department (IPD) director-general Thosapone Dansuputra has vowed.

The targeted locations in Bangkok are Ban Mor, Chatuchak weekend market, Klong Thom, Maboonkrong (MBK) shopping centre and Pantip Plaza.

Outside the capital, crackdowns have been launched at the Rong Klua market in Sa Kaeo on the border with Cambodia.

Massive raids have already been held this month in response to an order from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chaired the International Economic Policy Committee which has decided to step up efforts to tackle counterfeit products in the nation.

The raid follow a video conference between the IPD and the US Trade Representative during which the US asked the government to roll out more substantive measures to suppress producers and sellers of pirated goods.

However, the IPD chief says no pirated goods have been found at Ban Mor, Klong Thom or Pantip Plaza during the inspections over the past two weeks. At the other locations only a few fake goods had been spotted as most vendors sell local products or items without labels.

Shops closed

Sales of counterfeit products at the Rong Klua market have been curbed following the crackdowns, which forced the closure of many shops selling fake brand-name bags and shoes.

Thosapone says both lenient and harsh measures were used in the suppression, ranging from publicising the crackdowns and penalties against copyright violators, to instructing vendors on intellectual property infringement. Other measures also included warnings and revocation of lease contracts.

He says the suppression has been run by a joint force of authorities from the DIP, the Internal Security Operations Command, the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Police, the Department of Special Investigation and the State Railway of Thailand, which owns plots of land in Chatuchak market.

Authorities asked for cooperation from landowners and proprietors of shopping malls to help with the crackdown, while a ‘war room’ was set up to monitor violations.

December’s annual Notorious Markets report, issued by the USTR, named MBK Mall as the most troublesome market for pirated goods, and noted that intellectual rights holders “face a difficult environment in Thailand because of the large number of markets offering counterfeit and pirated goods and services, and a relative lack of enforcement”.

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