By Kwame Mensah --
Last month, the Director-General of Thailand's Department of Intellectual Property, Ms. Puangrat Asavapisit, announced that the Thailand National Legislative Assembly had unanimously voted to become a member of the Paris Convention and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now begun legal proceedings on the accession process with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The PCT system provides a clearinghouse for patent applicants in which WIPO conducts an initial examination of applications before they are distributed for examination in countries the applicant has previously designated. Thailand will gain membership within 90 days if there are no objections from the existing 138 members of the Paris Convention and PCT.
Previously, comprehensive registration of Thai patents abroad was difficult because of the additive high costs of registering an application individually in multiple countries. Membership in the Paris Convention will allow Thai inventors to obtain global patent protection more easily and at a lesser cost. The Director-General estimates that costs may be lowered by as much as 70 percent. An additional benefit for Thai inventors is that the PCT will give them time to develop plans for commercial use of their patents, such as authorizing foreign companies to use their rights. The hope is that this will lead to an increase in national capital that can be used to further invest in research and development. In turn, membership in the Paris Convention may also encourage registration of foreign patents in Thailand since inventors will not need to apply separately to the Thailand Department of Intellectual Property.
Efforts are currently being conducted to get Thai inventors and the Thailand Department of Intellectual Property up to speed on the patent application process via the PCT. More information on patent registration in Thailand can be found here.