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US officials to help Thailand improve copyright protection

After keeping Thailand on its Priority Watch List for intellectual-property violations for six consecutive years, the United States will soon send a team to help this country improve protection of intellectual-property rights.

Kulanee Issadisai, deputy director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Intellectual Property Department, said it had collaborated with the US Embassy on upgrading IPR protection in the Kingdom. The hope is to increase awareness on the issue and that Washington will upgrade Thailand's trade status next year.

The US has agreed to send officials from its IPR Coordination Centre to Thailand early next month. The project will entail six weeks of collaboration with Thai officials to improve the IPR protection system.

The American experts will suggest new techniques for suppressing IPR violators, who are always finding new methods of infringement. They will also work closely with the Department of Special Investigation and the Customs Department to inspect each area and suppress copycat goods.

The Intellectual Property Department also plans to work closely with the Cultural Promo-tion Department to protect IPR in the film industry. This is aimed at supporting Thailand as a centre of celluloid production and in-creasing filmmakers' confidence in the country.

The department reported that 243,457 pirated goods were seized in the first quarter of the year, with 2,430 copyright-infringement cases. To show that the country is serious about cracking down on copyright violations, the department recently destroyed more than 1.7 million illegal items worth almost Bt2 billion in Bangkok and Phuket. It says it will soon destroy more copied goods.

The department says it will continue to crack down on vio-lations in many areas. It will also continue to educate young people to be more aware of IPR violations online.


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