Recently, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, launched a new economic policy called “THAILAND 4.0”, which is aimed at leading Thailand into a new economic age with a focus on innovation for the country through the use of technology. As part of this new economic initiative, the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) requested assistance from the Prime Minister’s office to address the backlog of unexamined patent applications by issuing an appropriate order under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution of 2014 (the Interim Constitution). It has been reported that there is a backlog of over 12,000 patent applications that have been pending examination for five years or more.  On February 28, 2017, a cabinet resolution was issued granting the Prime Minister the authority to approve the DIP’s request to expedite patent examination.

 Following the cabinet resolution, the DIP issued an announcement to further address the patent registration process:

  • DIP has been recruiting additional patent examiners and increasing its budget to enhance its information and communication technology system to facilitate applicants.
  • Additional measure called “Work Sharing” will be adopted for examination of 5-year pending applications which were already preliminary examined by another International Search Authority (ISA). The International Search Report will be utilized for elimination of overlapping tasks. Nevertheless, the overall examination process must still comply with Thai Law.

Therefore, this space should be watched on the next steps of the DIP and the cabinet to see whether there will be any amendments of any relevant law or internal regulations on patent examinations.