In 2020, business owners need to adapt to the changing environment due to ongoing technological developments and COVID.
From as early as March 2020, the COVID pandemic has hit global businesses hard. All economic sectors, especially those directly involved with the movement of products or people (such as the global supply chain and hospitality industry) have been greatly affected.
The intellectual property industry is also affected by such a global crisis. We have seen numerous changes and adaptations to cope with the various difficulties as a result of the lockdowns, social distancing measures, and other preventive measures. On the prosecution side, the Thai Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) strongly encourages right-holders and law firms to use their e-filing system to reduce physical contact. The e-filing system was introduced a few years back and been upgraded continuously until its maturity and stability. All responses submitted through the e-filing system will be docketed automatically and assigned to responsible examiners, as opposed to the manually filed responses that would require laborious docketing by the DIP. This system is not only convenient for applicants but also reduces the DIP's workload greatly. Based on our experience, we found that works submitted through the e-filing system often receive noticeably faster responses from the examiner. Furthermore, the DIP has also introduced a work-from-home policy to protect their staff from the pandemic. Since examiners are only reachable when at the office, any works that require consultation with the examiner are noticeably delayed.
On the litigation side, the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (IPIT Court) has postponed most of its hearings to the end of 2020. For important cases where postponement is not an option, the IPIT Court will arrange the Plaintiff, the Defendant, and the Judge into three separate rooms and conduct the hearing through a teleconference. This method is a new means to reduce the chance of COVID transmission while complying with the complicated requirements under the Civil Procedure Code. The IPIT Court also introduced its newly created e-filing system. Complaints filed through the e-filing system will receive priority for preliminary hearings. An earlier preliminary hearing will also mean that subsequent hearings can be scheduled earlier. We are very proud to announce that we (Rouse Thailand) are the first to file a complaint to the IPIT Court under this system.
As COVID will continuously affect the world and will expect to remain for the next few years, people from all industries must learn to adapt to the circumstances. As a law firm that is open to new challenges and ready to adopt new solutions, we are confident in assisting our clients through any difficulties that may happen in these uncertain times.