Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thai Singapore dispute over cultural heritage

Thailand has been a very active protector of its cultural heritage. They are the leading country in SE Asia for protecting their own GIs. Thai rice, silk and other products have been protected - see earlier posts under the Thailand GI link below right.

Now a more ephemeral object of protection is causing Thai hackles to rise. A company in Singapore announced it will hold a Songkran festival in April. Somgkran is the Thai water festival.  The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expressed concern and is consulting other state agencies to see if legal action could be taken to protect Thailand’s cultural heritage.

It is hard to see that a festival can be protected as a form of IPR, and in any event there were presumably lots of Thai people in Singapore holding similar events. Still you have to admire Thailand for asserting its rights continually to protect its culture.





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