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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thai proposals to reduce patent pendency

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Thailand is making noises about tackling its chronic patent backlog. Tens of thousands of patents are still under examination, many times more than the 6000 or so filed each year and at least 12,000 are over 5 years old. Some applications from the 1990s are still not granted. 

The Ministry of Commerce and the National Council for Peace and Order are working on a plan to tackle the backlog. Ideas include worksharing, automatic grant for patents conforming with grants elsewhere, more limited novelty and inventiveness examinations only, expedited examination for older applications and a new reexamination system to cover for errors.

A public consultation will follow. One concern raised by the Ministry of Public Health relates to whether expediting pharmaceutical patents would lower quality including allowing more patenting of incremental inventions which could then increase drugs prices.

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