[Ip-health] USTR Launches Review Of IP In Thailand After Reported Improvements On Enforcement

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sun Sep 17 11:28:12 PDT 2017


USTR Launches Review Of IP In Thailand After Reported Improvements On


The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today announced
an “out-of-cycle” review of Thailand’s intellectual property policies after
what USTR said were reports of improvement on several IP issues including
trademarks and enforcement. Another area of the review will be

USTR Robert Lighthizer announced the review of Thailand’s status under the
US “Special 301” process that unilaterally assesses trading partners’
treatment of US intellectual property rights. Lighthizer was meeting in
Washington, DC with Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn to
“discuss ways to increase trade and reduce the trade deficit between the
United States and Thailand.”

USTR in its 2017 Special 301 report had placed Thailand on the higher level
“priority watch list,” but indicated willingness to review the status if
Thailand made progress on the issues raised by USTR in the report.

“The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on
improving IP protection and enforcement,” USTR said in a release. “In
recent months, Thailand has taken steps to improve enforcement against
pirated and counterfeit goods, including enhanced coordination among
enforcement agencies and a sustained focus on investigations and raids.”

It also said that in August, Thailand acceded to the Protocol Relating to
the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks,
managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, “making it easier
for U.S. companies to file for trademark protection. Thailand also has been
addressing the backlog for patent and trademark applications, including by
hiring a significant number of additional examiners,” the trade office said.

Areas where the US is “continuing to engage” with Thailand include “reforms
to its legal system and on improving transparency and due process with
respect to pharmaceutical issues.”

As part of the process, USTR will publish a Federal Register Notice seeking
comments on Thailand’s IP record.

On the side of a conference in Washington on IP rights and gene editing as
well as high drug prices, Knowledge Ecology International Executive
Director James Love responded to the USTR review, saying, “I’d be concerned
that USTR is pressuring Thailand to take pro-pharma positions on the RCEP
and TPP.”

RCEP is the Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement,
while TPP is the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement initiated and
concluded by the US with a dozen other partners. The US under the Trump
administration withdrew from the TPP.

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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