20- Year In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty ( IP) Roadmap for Thai­land 4.0

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Content - Writ­ten by: Kowit Somwaiya and Paramee Ker­a­tiv­i­tayanan

On Jan­uary 26, 2017, the Depart­ment of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty ( DIP) fi­nally re­leased the 20Year IP Roadmap to re­form the Thai in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty sys­tem to be in line with the strat­egy of driv­ing the coun­try to Thai­land 4.0, which fo­cuses on an econ­omy based on in­no­va­tion and in­tel­li­gence. The roadmap would en­hance the com­pet­i­tive­ness of Thai en­trepreneurs and Thai prod­ucts as they move into the global mar­ket and cre­ate trade op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The IP Roadmap cov­ers the six main is­sues, i. e., ( 1) cre­ation of IP- based in­no­va­tion, ( 2) timely pro­tec­tion of IP, ( 3) com­mer­cial­iza­tion of IP to cre­ate value, ( 4) ef­fec­tive en­force­ment of IP rights ( IPRS), ( 5) pro­mo­tion of ge­o­graph­i­cal in­di­ca­tions for ru­ral pros­per­ity, and ( 6) pro­tec­tion of genetic re­sources, tra­di­tional knowl­edge and tra­di­tional cul­tural ex­pres­sions.

CRE­ATION OF IP- BASED IN­NO­VA­TION

To fos­ter cre­ation of IP- based in­no­va­tion, the DIP and other re­lated gov­ern­ment of­fices are to pro­mote and en­cour­age more re­search and de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in Thai­land which are more re­spon­sive to the needs of the mar­ket and also im­prove and pro­mote the use of IP data­bases, in­clud­ing patent map­ping ser­vices and patent search ser­vices, to help un­der­stand the past and cur­rent trends of in­no­va­tions in a par­tic­u­lar in­dus­try. They will also de­velop the in­fra­struc­ture and is­sue mea­sures to sup­port ac­ces­si­bil­ity to sources of funds for cre­ation of in­no­va­tion.

TIMELY PRO­TEC­TION OF IP

Cur­rently, DIP lacks suf­fi­cient re­sources to keep up with the in­creas­ing vol­ume of ap­pli­ca­tions, es­pe­cially for patent ap­pli­ca­tions, with ex­am­i­na­tions tak­ing, on av­er­age, more than 5 years in some tech­nol­ogy sec­tors, and as high as 10 years for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal patents.

Un­der the IP Roadmap, the DIP will hire and train more ex­am­in­ers and reg­is­trars and amend some IP laws and reg­u­la­tions to stream­line the ap­pli­ca­tion, ex­am­i­na­tion and reg­is­tra­tion pro­ce­dures. The DIP will also im­ple­ment new work flow op­ti­miza­tion schemes to make the ap­pli­ca­tion and reg­is­tra­tion pro­cesses more ef­fi­cient. It may also im­ple­ment work­shar­ing pro­grams with other agen­cies and or­ga­ni­za­tions to sup­port in cer­tain is­sues.

COM­MER­CIAL­IZA­TION OF IP TO CRE­ATE VALUE

In or­der to pro­vide sup­port to IP rights hold­ers to com­mer­cial­ize their IPRS, DIP and other re­lated gov­ern­ment sec­tors will ar­range and or­ga­nize an­nual IP fairs and other events for busi­ness match­ing and ex­hi­bi­tion of prod­ucts. They will also pro­vide sup­port for de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of re­sults of re­search in or­der to meet the needs of the mar­ket and give a hand with val­u­a­tion of IPRS and uti­liza­tion of IPRS as col­lat­eral.

EF­FEC­TIVE EN­FORCE­MENT OF IPRS

The in­ef­fec­tive en­force­ment of IPRS in Thai­land is one of the big­gest prob­lems for IP own­ers in­vest­ing in Thai­land. The Gov­ern­ment is step­ping up ef­forts to have Thai­land re­moved from the U. S. Pri­or­ity Watch List un­der Spe­cial 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. A tar­get has been set to erad­i­cate or at least re­duce the vol­ume of the IP in­fringe­ments in red zones ( no­to­ri­ous markets) in Bangkok and nearby prov­inces by 2021 and also to en­force IPRS against on­line IP in­fringers.

To reach the goal of hav­ing ef­fec­tive en­force­ment of IPRS, Min­istry of Com­merce and re­lated gov­ern­ment sec­tors are urged to pro­vide the public and en­trepreneurs with bet­ter understanding about re­spect for IP and the pro­mo­tion of IP rights among the gen­eral public. Co­op­er­a­tion with police au­thor­ity, cus­toms, oth­ers re­lated gov­ern­ment of­fices and pri­vate sec­tors is also needed.

PRO­MO­TION OF GE­O­GRAPH­I­CAL IN­DI­CA­TIONS ( GIS) FOR RU­RAL PROS­PER­ITY

Cur­rently, 67 Thai prod­ucts from 49 prov­inces are reg­is­tered as GIS with the DIP. The IP Roadmap aims to have prod­ucts in other 28 prov­inces reg­is­tered as GIS as well. This is in­tended to pro­mote the mar­ket­ing of Thai­land’s agricultural, hand­i­craft, and ar­ti­san prod­ucts for which Thai­land is fa­mous. 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.

DIP and other re­lated gov­ern­ment of­fices will also work to­gether to ar­range a sys­tem to con­trol the stan­dard and qual­ity of GI prod­ucts and pro­vide sup­port to make them more mar­ketable.

PRO­TEC­TION OF GENETIC RE­SOURCES ( GRS), TRA­DI­TIONAL KNOWL­EDGE ( TK) AND TRA­DI­TIONAL CUL­TURAL EX­PRES­SIONS ( TCES)

Thai­land has been fac­ing many prob­lems as its GRS, TK or TCES are il­le­gally used and com­mer­cial­ized, in­clud­ing biopiracy by for­eign­ers.

Un­der the IP Roadmap, DIP and other re­lated gov­ern­ment sec­tors are to im­prove laws and reg­u­la­tions in re­la­tion to GRS, TK and TCES and cre­ate data­bases of these IPRS so that they are ef­fi­cient and use­ful. Also, they are to pro­mote more international agree­ments re­lated to the prin­ci­ple of prior in­formed con­sent of the coun­try of ori­gin of the re­sources and also to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment of the ex­ist­ing GRS, TK and TCES.

Kowit Somwaiya is Man­ag­ing Part­ner and Paramee Ker­a­tiv­i­tayanan is an as­so­ciate lawyer of Law­plus Ltd. They can be con­tacted at kowit. somwaiya@ law­plusltd. com and paramee. ker­a­tiv­i­tayanan@ law­plusltd. com.

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