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The Thai Patent System

Thailand IP Office

Patent prosecution in Thailand is done before the Department of Intellectual Property, located in Nonthaburi. Thailand acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2009 and became a contracting party of the Paris Convention in 2008. Invention patents are valid for 20 years from the date of filing; rights under design patents last for 10 years from filing; and petty patents are valid for 6 years from filing, with two 2-year extensions available on request.

Filing Patents in Thailand

Thai law explicitly bars the patentability of computer programs and methods of diagnosis, treatment, or cure of diseases. Substantive evaluation of a patent can be done by (a) providing a copy of the examination report or registration certificate of a priority patent; (b) requesting that the DIP appoint the Australian Patent Office to conduct the examination; or (c) requesting that a qualified Thai organization (e.g. a university) conduct the examination. Applications must specify whether the application is for an invention patent or a petty patent, the difference being that petty patents do not require the presence of an inventive step. Applications must include: the application form; a description containing the name of the scientific field, background, characteristics of the invention, full disclosure, best mode, and drawings. For design patents, applications must include the application form, description of the design, drawings, and a claim of right. Where the inventor and applicant are different, documents of assignment or employment must be submitted with the application; where the inventor is the applicant, the inventor must file a certificate of right with the DIP.

PCT National Stage in Thailand

FIn order to obtain protection in Thailand, PCT applications must enter the national stage within 30 months of the PCT application’s priority date. All documents must be translated into Thai.

Recent Developments in Thai IP Law

Because Thailand is a very recent signatory to the PCT and Paris Convention (the PCT entered into force in December 2009), practitioners had reported a decrease in patent applications in 2010. Current projections indicate that applications before the DIP will increase appreciably starting in June 2012, when PCT and international applications filed after Thailand’s accession to the PCT approach the 30-month national stage entry deadline. Plans to amend the current laws on compulsory licensing, novelty, and the registration and examination processes are in the works.

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