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Thailand's Progress in Intellectual Property Protection: A Summary of the USTR 2024 Report

posted 3 weeks ago

In a recent report by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Thailand’s progress in intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement has been evaluated. This article aims to provide a summary of the improvements made by the Thailand Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) throughout the year, as well as highlight areas that still require further attention.

Thailand, along with 19 other countries, remains on the USTR’s Watch List (WL) in 2024. While this designation indicates that there are still challenges in IP protection, the USTR acknowledges Thailand’s ongoing efforts to enhance its IP framework. The following notable comments and remarks were made in the report:

Amendment of Copyright and Patent Acts

The USTR urges Thailand to expedite the amendment process of the Copyright Act and Patent Act. Concerns were raised regarding the Copyright Act, specifically, the need to address procedural obstacles to enforcement against unauthorized cam-cording and overly broad exemptions to the circumvention of technological protection measures. As for the Patent Act, streamlining the patent registration process, reducing the backlog in pending patent examinations, and preparing for accession to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Design were recommended.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods

The USTR 2024 report highlights Thailand’s need for improved enforcement and deterrence measures against growing online piracy and applications that enable unauthorized streaming and downloading of copyrighted content. However, the report does acknowledge positive developments in physical enforcement. Notably, Thailand’s 2021 memorandum of understanding with e-commerce platforms has proven effective in combating the sale and advertisement of counterfeit goods online, as well as online piracy. Additionally, the Thai Customs IPR Recordation System, established in 2022, has enhanced the efficiency of seizing imported, exported, and transit counterfeit goods.

Other Concerns

The USTR report also raises several additional concerns. Firstly, there is a lack of resulting criminal prosecutions against online piracy, indicating a need for stronger legal action in this area. Secondly, lengthy civil IP enforcement proceedings and low civil damages remain issues that need to be addressed. Moreover, the continued use of unlicensed software in the private sector and unauthorized disclosure of undisclosed tests or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products were highlighted as areas requiring attention.

In conclusion, the USTR 2024 report indicates a positive direction for Thailand’s IP protection and enforcement. However, it also emphasizes the need for continued improvements and more stringent measures. The DIP is committed to addressing these concerns and working towards removing Thailand from the USTR’s Watch List of countries. By making progress in these areas, Thailand can further enhance its IP protection regime and foster a favorable environment for innovation and creativity.

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