A Thai company Soi Ha Inter Group Co., Ltd lost several patent invalidations against Honda Motor Co patents at the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court.
The case began with a criminal action by Honda through the Department of Special Investigations against Soi Ha for importation and distribution of mini 4-stroke engines which Honda asserted infringed its patents. Thailand is unusual in having a criminal patent enforcement system. As often happens to counter attack, Soi Ha filed a civil case to invalidate three of Honda’s patents. The IP/IT Court made its decision on 26 March 2014 dismissing the case.
The Court ruled that the patents were valid. Weak evidence of lack of novelty and obviousness was presented by Soi Ha (merely going to general principles about engine parts from textbooks which did not even concern technical issues or in-depth academic principles or analysis). Further the patents were clearly capable of industrial application.
Thailand is developing a relatively strong and well organized patent enforcement system, and for mechanical patents the criminal system is working quite well.