The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has decided to move Thailand from the Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List due to the country’s improving intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced the conclusion and results of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of Thailand, including moving Thailand from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List.
“A key objective of the Trump Administration’s trade policy is ensuring that U.S. owners of intellectual property (IP) have a full and fair opportunity to use and profit from their IP around the globe,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.
“The key to promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property. We welcome the corrective actions that Thailand has taken and look forward to continuing to work with Thailand to resolve our remaining IP concerns.”
The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement as part of the bilateral U.S.-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. This engagement has yielded results on resolving U.S. IP concerns across a range of issues, including on enforcement, patents and pharmaceuticals, trademarks, and copyright.
For example, Thailand established an interagency National Committee on Intellectual Property Policy and a subcommittee on enforcement against intellectual property infringement, led by the Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister, respectively.
This strong level of interest from the highest levels of the government led to improved coordination among government entities, as well as enhanced and sustained enforcement efforts to combat counterfeit and pirated goods throughout the country.
Thailand also has been taking steps to address backlogs for patent and trademark applications, including significantly increasing the number of examiners and streamlining regulations.
In addition, Thailand joined the Madrid Protocol, making it easier for U.S. companies to apply for trademarks, and took steps to address concerns regarding online piracy affecting the U.S. content industry.
Other results include a commitment from Thailand to improve transparency related to pharmaceutical issues, such as taking stakeholder input into account as it considers amendments to its Drug Act and providing interested stakeholders with regular consultation opportunities with the Thai Food and Drug Administration.
After 10 years in the company of a dozen countries deemed to have the world’s worst IP protection, the country has been upgraded to the Watch List.
In light of Thailand’s progress, USTR is closing the OCR that was initiated on September 15, 2017, and is moving Thailand from the Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List. The United States will continue to engage bilaterally with Thailand to address other remaining IP concerns, which are highlighted in the 2017 Special 301 Report.
Upgrading Thailand’s IP watch list status a boost to the country’s image
The upgrading of Thailand’s intellectual property watch list status by the United States Trade Representative will boost the country’s image, trade and investment, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said today (Dec 16).
The removal of Thailand from the priority watch list of intellectual property violation by the USTR will also contribute to the government’s Thailand 4.0 policy, which focuses on innovation- and technology-driven economy, Mr Sontirat said.
He was responding to the USTR’s announcement on Dec 15 that the agency is removing Thailand from the Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List due to the country’s improving intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement.
The minister said Thailand was among the 11 countries under the US priority watch list on intellectual property violation in the latest round of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review.
The upgrade of the country’s status from Priority Watch List to Watch List reflected the progress of the country’s efforts in intellectual property protection, he said.