Thailand is making progress in terms of moving out of the US Priority Watch List (PWL). Thailand has been on this list for 10 consecutive years, due to persistent copyright infringement which the government has failed to tackle. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will announce in April the countries that will be on the 2017 PWL, according to the ‘Special 301 Report’. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) have both argued to the USTR that Thailand was showing better results in terms of infringement, and incited the USTR to upgrade Thailand to the “Watch List”.

USTR have accepted their opinion but the final decision will be announced in April. The Thai government itself has made great efforts to improve the country’s efficiency in regards to intellectual property right protection and suppression of infringement to ensure foreign investor confidence. Among those efforts is the ‘Thailand 4.0 campaign’ to move the country’s economy forward in terms of development, innovation and technology by protecting intellectual property rights as a key success.

The IIPA stated it was impressed by the new amendments to the Computer-related Crime Act of 2007 to include infringements made on the internet. Moreover, the government’s IP Roadmap constitutes a comprehensive strategy to improve the whole national intellectual property system which, along with other decisions such as giving a 20% deduction on expenses to all foreign film productions taking place in Thailand, creates an environment that is suitable to the innovative and creative industries. In addition, BSA has declared itself satisfied by the efficient coordination between the Economic Crime Suppression Division and Intellectual Property Division.

However, other private companies such as the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition (IACC ), the Pharmaceutical research and manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and the Bioindusty Association (BIO) have suggested that Thailand should remain in the PWL, arguing that important improvements to the Thai Intellectual Property Environment are still required. Their concerns relate mostly to the extent of patent protection, the protection of pharmaceutical data, and to the current length of the trademark registration process.

Source: Infoquest