State to Fast-track Patents
Section 44 to speed pending patent applications
Last month, February 2017, The Cabinet and National Council for Peace and Order (the NCPO) approved a request from the Department of Intellectual Property (the “DIP”) to solve the problem of the long-delayed patent approval process by using Section 44 of the interim charter.
To expedite the patent approval process, The DIP requested the authority to grant the pending patent applications if it meets the following criteria:
- Pending patent applications which were filed for five years or more and already requested for the substantive examination.
- There is a corresponding granted patent in a foreign country; and
- The claims of the applications are made to correspond to the claims of such granted patents.
The commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said as many as 36,000 patent applications are now pending approval. “We support the use of section 44 to tackle the long-delayed patent approval process”, she said. “We believe a faster approval process will help the country better utilize advanced technology and innovation.”
The DIP aims to grant about 12,000 pending patent applications within 3 month. However, due to the fact that there are about 3,000 of those are requests for drugs. Some pharmaceutical-related NGOs disagree with this and demonstrate against this policy as they afraid that this scheme might speedy grant the drug patents which should not receive patent rights. Apart from this there are a lot of objections from many organization, especially related to health care, bio and food. They claimed that the information that the government stated are not true and this scheme would support the monopoly rights for some companies as the patent is an important tool for wealthy industrialists to prevent competition.
The DIP has not announced the official regulations regarding the scheme yet. We will follow up this issue closely to see how this policy will be implement and keep you informed the progress.
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We support the use of section 44 to tackle the long-delayed patent approval process