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US expected keep Thailand on Priority Watch List for another year

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  • Mid
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    US upgrades Thailand for improved IP protection
    16 Dec 2017


    An excavator crushes 300 tonnes of pirated electrical goods, luxury products and other items worth 141 million baht at an event staged in March at an army base in Bangkok.
    (File photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

    WASHINGTON: The United States has removed Thailand from its Priority Watch List of intellectual property (IP) violators in recognition of the country's efforts to improve IP protection and enforcement.

    After 10 years in the company of countries deemed to have the world's worst IP protection, the country has been upgraded to the Watch List.

    US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made the announcement on Friday following a so-called Special 301 review. It refers to Section 301 of the US Trade Act, under which countries that fail to combat IP violations cound face trade sanctions.

    "A key objective of the Trump Administration's trade policy is ensuring that US owners of intellectual property (IP) have a full and fair opportunity to use and profit from their IP around the globe," Mr Lighthizer said a statement released by the office of the USTR.

    "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."

    Successive Thai governments have expressed a determination to improve anti-piracy enforcement and other measures in order to avoid the risk of US sanctions. Their focus has been mainly on piracy of movies, music and software. Staged photo opportunities at which fake goods are destroyed are routine but mostly meaningless.

    While counterfeiting remains a problem and a major concern of the US entertainment, media and software industries, Thailand's stance on pharmaceuticals is the real thorn in Washington's side.

    Thailand is among a number of countries that have angered the US pharmaceutical industry, which holds huge sway over American lawmakers, by using compulsory licensing to make essential drugs cheaper.

    Mr Lighthizer said the US government had been "closely engaging" with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement as part of the bilateral US-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

    "This engagement has yielded results on resolving US IP concerns across a range of issues, including on enforcement, patents and pharmaceuticals, trademarks and copyright," he said.

    He noted that the country had established an inter-agency National Committee on Intellectual Property Policy and a subcommittee on enforcement against IP 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," he said.

    Thailand, he added, had also been taking steps to address backlogs in patent and trademark applications, including significantly increasing the number of examiners and streamlining regulations.

    As well, the country has joined the Madrid Protocol, making it easier for US companies to apply for trademarks, and taken steps to address concerns regarding online piracy affecting the US content industry.

    The report also noted "a commitment from Thailand to improve transparency related to pharmaceutical issues", such as taking stakeholder input into account as it considers amendments to the Drug Act.

    bangkokpost.com

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  • Mid
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    The big issue: 301 hypocrites

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  • Mid
    replied
    US keeps Thailand on intellectual rights watch list
    1/05/2015

    WASHINGTON - Thailand is on the US list of world's worst offenders of intellectual property (IP) laws for the ninth consecutive year.

    The United States Trade Representative early Friday issued its annual Special 301 Report on all its trading partners, and again found Thailand wanting in almost all areas of IP protection.

    Thailand was placed on the "priority watch list" of the report after it issued legal compulsory licences for three medicines made and sold at huge profit by US pharmaceutical companies. It has remained on that list ever since.

    The name of the report refers to Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974. It provides for sanctions against the worst offenders - such as Thailand - but in practice there never has been punishment for alleged offenders beyond name-and-shame.

    The latest US report also kept China and India on its Priority Watch List of trading partners that fail to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), hurting the economy.

    In all, the Commerce Department's US Trade Representative listed 13 trading partners on its "dirty dozen" Priority Watch List. As usual, they are listed only in alphabetical order: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

    The full report can be viewed or downloaded

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  • US expected keep Thailand on Priority Watch List for another year

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