IN LIGHT of Thailand’s strenuous attempts to protect intellectual-property rights, US film and software giants have suggested to the US Trade Representative (USTR) that it upgrade the Kingdom’s trade status this year, as they are satisfied with the outcome.
Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Intellectual Property Department, said yesterday that according to a report to the USTR voicing opinions from huge US private enterprises worried about piracy hurting their profits, Thailand had earned a good response from many companies in the film, software, music and book industries.
“The US should be satisfied with Thailand’s attempt to reduce IPR infringements and the passing of laws to punish violators, while the government has joined forces with many organisations in cracking down on copycat goods during the past several years,” he said.
Among the bodies advising the USTR to upgrade Thailand’s trade status from Priority Watch List to Watch List is the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which includes many leading Hollywood filmmakers, music companies, entertainment-software enterprises, and copyright owners for books.
Moreover, the Software Alliance – commonly known as the BSA and established by Microsoft – has also expressed satisfaction with Thailand’s efforts to crack down on infringement, and therefore also supports an upgrade to the Watch List this year, Thosapone said.
The IIPA stated its satisfaction with the government’s work in suppressing violations on the Internet and enforcing the Computer Act.
Moreover, the fact that the country has a strategy to suppress IP violations, and is encouraging filmmakers to use Thailand as a movie location and returning 20 per cent of their expenditure to foreign firms, has also increased the satisfaction level among US businesses, he added.
Thailand has been on the Priority Watch List under the “US Special 301 Report” since 2008 on grounds that it lacks awareness of IPR protection and particular laws to prevent violations.
This has put the Kingdom at risk of losing its trade privileges with the US.
The USTR will make a final consideration on whether to change Thailand’s status in April.
However, there are still some US organisations – such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, |the International AntiCounter-|feiting Council, and the Biotechnology Industry Organi-sation – that have suggested to the USTR that it keep Thailand on the Priority Watch List this year, the official said.
Thosapone stressed that for this year, whether the US upgrades Thailand or not, the government would continue to cooperate with private enterprises in suppressing violations and increasing IP protection.
The government will also proceed under its “Thailand 4.0” policy in promoting innovation and the usage of IPR for commercialisation, he added.