Streamlining Procedures on CIPITC Court Cases
Due to the rapid changes in technologies and the necessity for the legal justice system to keep up with the continuous changes, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (“CIPITC”) issued an updated version of the old Rules on Intellectual Property and International Trade Cases B.E. 2540 (1997) by merging the announcements and/or regulations into an integral part of these provisions. Essentially, the Rules on Intellectual Property and International Trade Cases B.E. 2566 (2023) (“Rules”) amended the way in which the CIPITC usually proceeds, or how evidence hearing is usually conducted. The Rules now make it clear that the parties can file a complaint, motion, answer, or other pleadings or submit related documents to the court via electronic means. The court may proceed with the hearing wholly or partially by electronic means. The following is sample of the changes that affect the CIPITC proceedings making them convenient to the parties in dispute.
Amendment to the Procedures
Previously, the CIPITC has no authority to suggest alternative hearing methods. It was largely dependent on an agreement by the parties in dispute. The new Rules allow the CIPITC to propose alternative hearing methods, including methods of communication, submission, delivery, and receiving of testimony, which will smooth out advancing the trial. The delivery of documents, summons notice, copies of the complaint, or other court orders, whether to the parties or any third person may be done via electronic mail. For e-mail or other electronic means, the CIPITC would have deemed that such communications or copies of documents are valid once 15 days have passed from the date that such documents and/or information have been delivered. In a case where the defendant’s domicile is not in the Kingdom of Thailand, the delivery of summon notice and/or copy of the complaint shall be of the same method as the defendant has used in business operation or communication with the party involved in the dispute or has declared it to a government agency, however, the CIPITC would regard such summon notice and/or copy of complaint valid after 30 days passed from the date of such documents and/or information have been delivered. This email address should be used in the defendant’s business operations or has been used in communication with the other party regarding the dispute. Another important development under the Rules is in regard to the evidence for hearing proceedings. Should any parties wish to refer to electronic evidence, such evidence must be recorded in the records of witness testimony. The recording of witness testimony in electronic form can now be used as is, without having to be transcribed into written testimony as it was done in the past. Witness statements in the past were written in the wording summarizing it from verbal statements given by witnesses.
Acceptance of Foreign Language Documents
The current policy requires most documents in a foreign language to be translated into Thai, but there are exceptions. If the parties agree and the documents are not crucial to the case and are in English, the CIPITC may allow submission without translation. However, the new Rules expand upon this allowance. CIPICT can now permit the submission of documents in any foreign language without Thai translation or with partial translation if both parties agree and the untranslated portions are not crucial. Additionally, the CIPITC can directly examine international regulations, treaties, or guidelines in a foreign language without solely relying on submitted translations. The new Rules enable the consideration of international treaties if Thailand is a contracting party, even without Thai translations. However, it is less clear whether the CIPITC can consider treaties not being raised by the parties, in accordance with international principles and practices.
Foreign Witness may Submit Written Statement Instead
If a party or all parties have requested and the CIPITC deems it appropriate for the benefit of justice, the CIPITC may allow the submission of the testimony of a witness who resides outside the country to be presented to the court. The witness does not have to appear before the court as a witness. However, the testimony must follow the guidelines specified or the law of the country where the testimony is made. Obviously, the new Rules will give CIPICT more flexibility and transparency in conducting proceedings, resulting in streamlined court procedures and decreased time and expenses for the parties involved.
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