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Intellectual property protection a ‘key element of Thailand 4.0’

Intellectual property protection a ‘key element of Thailand 4.0’

SUNDAY, October 01, 2017

THERE’S A ROLE for intellectual property protection in the Thailand 4.0 vision and initiative, and the national government’s Intellectual Property Department sees a role for itself promoting innovation through offering increased knowledge sharing and more convenient services.

“We are a key mechanism in protecting new technology and innovation vital to economic development, and we do this by motivating new developments,” said Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of the department.
The task will be carried out through the Intellectual Property Innovation Driven Enterprise Centre (IP IDE Centre) and a revised version of IP Mart, which will be unveiled next January. 
Thosapone said the IP IDE Centre, opened in March, had been advising over 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through its own data – patent information – the department has a pool of information to share with SMEs developing any kind of new technology and innovation. “Knowledge sessions” are being hosted in Bangkok and the provinces to share local and global trends, including one on medical technology organised in the last week of September.
“They should not invent anything that already exists,” said Thosapone. “We want to encourage them to divert resources for something else.”
The patent matching service is available in cooperation with Chulalongkorn University, to help potential inventors complete their prototypes and get consultation assistance.
The department is also upgrading its IP Mart website, turning it into a marketplace for inventors and investors. On the website, inventors at all levels with patents or in the process of filing for patents can post their IP innovations. Through an upgrade, an interactive feature will be available, along with a free valuation service.
According to Thosapone, a committee will be formed to select potential innovations.
“Under the Business Collateral Act, intellectual property is classified as ‘collaterals’. Yet, there is no valuation and nobody knows their value. We now have a budget for the valuation service, probably for hundreds of IP rights. These should be a good guide to commercial banks,” he said. 
A handbook has also been prepared for distribution to inventors that want to pass the valuation criteria.
Like other member countries of the World Trade Organisation, the department is required to provide equal protection for both Thai and foreign companies, said Thosapone. And they will introduce legislation to fully comply with the Doha Declaration on TRIPS (the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) and Public Health.
Regardless of the innovator’s country of origin, the alternative dispute resolution offered by the department ensure all can benefit from arbitration and conciliation services, most of which are copyright and trademark related. In cases where these process fail to solve the dispute, they are forwarded to the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court.
Thosapone said that the biggest category involves inventions in the field of engineering designs and inventions. 
In the agricultural category, technologies like ploughing machines and fertilisers as well as plant-inventing processes fall under the department’s jurisdiction, while plants, animals and naturally occurring microorganisms so not.
Thosapone said the department has continuously modernised intellectual-property laws and regulations to facilitate applicants and to keep up with international norms and standards. But there are limits, he said, that should correspond to a country’s level of economic development.