The Depart­ment of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty’s IP Roadmap for Thailand

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Property Trends - Writ­ten by: Jakkrit Kuan­poth

On June 20, 2016, Thos­apone Dan­supu­tra, the Deputy Di­rec­tor- Gen­eral of Thailand’s Depart­ment of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty ( DIP), made a speech on the DIP’S roadmap for in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty ( IP) re­form in Thailand. Dur­ing his speech, Mr. Dan­supu­tra men­tioned five core strate­gies that the Thai gov­ern­ment would fol­low in or­der to en­hance IP pro­tec­tion in the coun­try. The strate­gies re­late to the cre­ation, com­mer­cial­iza­tion, and pro­tec­tion of IP; the pre­ven­tion and sup­pres­sion of IP rights vi­o­la­tions; and the pro­tec­tion of ge­o­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions.

To fos­ter in­no­va­tion and pro­mote the cre­ation of IP, Mr. Dan­supu­tra stated that the gov­ern­ment would en­cour­age SMES and startup busi­nesses to use IP data­bases, in­clud­ing patent map­ping ser­vices and patent search ser­vices. This would en­able en­ter­prises to un­der­stand the past and cur­rent trends of R& D and patent ac­tiv­i­ties in a par­tic­u­lar in­dus­try, and it would pro­vide an added ben­e­fit to the DIP’S ex­ist­ing au­to­mated sys­tems that sup­port IP work­flow ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing patents ( i. e. in­ven­tions, de­signs, and petty patents), copy­right, trade­marks, trade se­crets, and ge­o­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions.

In or­der to pro­vide sup­port for IP rights hold­ers to com­mer­cial­ize their IP rights, Mr. Dan­supu­tra stated that gov­ern­ment agen­cies would or­ga­nize an­nual IP fairs and events, and the gov­ern­ment would help lo­cal re­search in­sti­tu­tions es­tab­lish tech­nol­ogy li­cens­ing of­fices. These of­fices would un­der­take patent searches to as­sess the nov­elty of in­no­va­tions, mar­ket and com­mer­cial­ize in­ven­tions, and ne­go­ti­ate li­censes.

As far as the pro­tec­tion of IP is con­cerned, the DIP faces a back­log of ap­prox­i­mately 38,500 patent ap­pli­ca­tions and 34,300 trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tions. To re­duce the back­log, while main­tain­ing or im­prov­ing over­all patent qual­ity, the DIP will im­ple­ment work- shar­ing pro­grams with other agen­cies and or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing uni­ver­si­ties, and adopt new pro­ce­dures that speed up the ex­am­i­na­tion process such as the ASEAN Patent Ex­am­i­na­tion Co- op­er­a­tion pro­gram, a re­gional patent work- shar­ing pro­gram among ASEAN mem­bers. The DIP will also hire and train more ex­am­in­ers, to in­crease the num­ber of patent ex­am­in­ers from 39 to 127, and in­crease the num­ber of trade­mark ex­am­in­ers from 20 to 40. To fur­ther en­hance IP pro­tec­tion, the DIP is cur­rently in the process of amend­ing laws to stream­line patent and trade­mark reg­is­tra­tion pro­ce­dures.

A num­ber of ini­tia­tives have been un­der­taken to pre­vent and sup­press IP rights vi­o­la­tions un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Sup­pres­sion of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty In­fringe­ment Sub­com­mit­tee, chaired by the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­suwan. The ini­tia­tives in­clude the pro­mo­tion of IP rights among the gen­eral pub­lic, seek­ing co­op­er­a­tion of land­lords and rel­e­vant agen­cies such as the Bangkok Metropoli­tan Ad­min­is­tra­tion Author­ity, the State Rail­way of Thailand, shop­ping malls ( e. g., MBK Cen­ter and Pan­tip Plaza), and more. To raise IP pro­tec­tion aware­ness, the DIP is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to in­cor­po­rate IP sub­jects into school cur­ricu­lums and in ac­tiv­i­ty­based pro­grams of pri­mary, sec­ondary, and vo­ca­tional schools.

For the pro­tec­tion of ge­o­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions, Mr. Dan­supu­tra stated that this is in­tended to pro­mote the marketing of Thailand’s agri­cul­tural, hand­i­craft, and ar­ti­san prod­ucts. Ap­pro­pri­ate and ef­fec­tive ge­o­graph­i­cal in­di­ca­tion pro­tec­tion sys­tems help pro­mote SMES’ prod­ucts by guar­an­tee­ing ex­clu­siv­ity over the use of their ge­o­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions, and help­ing those com­pa­nies over­come marketing chal­lenges such as ob­tain­ing con­sumer recog­ni­tion and loy­alty. Ap­pro­pri­ate pro­tec­tion poli­cies could help trans­form man­u­fac­tur­ing from quan­tity- driven in­di­ca­tors to qual­ity- based fac­tors. The Thai gov­ern­ment is also con­sid­er­ing a brand- build­ing strat­egy for ge­o­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions to pro­mote par­tic­u­lar re­gions as tourist des­ti­na­tions.

Jakkrit Kuan­poth is Of Coun­sel at Tilleke & Gib­bins. He can be con­tacted at jakkrit. k@ tilleke. com.

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