Thursday, November 22, 2012

International trade mark filing covering Thailand - Are we there yet?

Wine market in Thailand

Thailand has a population of 68 million. An estimated 10 % of the population drinks wine. This accounts for 3 % of the alcohol beverage market. Even though wine has a much smaller market share compared to beer and spirits, there are strong developments in the level of consumer awareness and appreciation of wines.

Wine consumption is increasing and still light red and white wines are often considered and positioned as beverages with superior health benefits. Red wine dominates and holds a 70 % market share in the retail market.

The most popular varietals for red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, and Pinot Noir respectively.  

Thailand has fewer than 10 local wine producers and retail price ranges starting from $6 per bottle. However, the price of the better Thai wines, which are viewed locally as competitive with imported wines, will be over USD 20 per bottle, which is almost the same range that the consumers can shop for good imported wines.

Still, most wines consumed in Thailand are imported from France, Australia, Italy, Chile, and the USA.

Positioning a wine in foreign markets

Positioning a wine in a foreign market such as Thailand requires a strategic shaping of its brand and image. Ever demanding consumers are looking for high quality wines and marks that represent them. The average exporter is a medium sized company which, in turn, makes them eager candidates of the Madrid Protocol.

Madrid Protocol?

Trade mark registrations are "territorial".  This means for instance your USA trade mark registration will only give you protection in USA.  To protect a mark in overseas countries, the brand owner must file an application in each of the countries where you want protection. If he wants to do this in more than one country, in many cases the best approach is to use the “Madrid Protocol”.

The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty between about 80 countries which allows a single trade mark application to be filed through the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), seeking protection in one or more of the countries who have signed the treaty.

Last October, the Thai Parliament has approved for the Cabinet to proceed with Thailand’s accession to the Madrid Protocol. This process is expected to take approximately six months. With ASEAN Economic Community integration approaching, Thailand has committed itself to becoming a member of the Madrid System by 2015.


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