Controversy on Pharmaceutical Patents and the Future of Opposition Proceedings for Patents in Thailand

Three years ago, Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) issued guidelines for the examination of chemical and pharmaceutical patents, with the aim of harmonizing the examination of chemical and pharmaceutical patents and petty patents. The guidelines were developed by a variety of groups with interest in patents, including NGOs involved with pharmaceuticals, government departments, academics, patent practitioners, and local and international pharmaceutical companies.

Since the guidelines were implemented, another issue has been raised by pharmaceutical-related NGOs regarding the completeness and accuracy of information on the database of patent applications published online by the Thai Patent Office, the Thai Patent Gazette.

In January 2016, the DIP held a focus group meeting on amending the current Thai Patent Act. In order to expedite the registration process of patents, one of the DIP's proposed amendments was to eliminate the current pre-grant opposition process and and replace it with a post-grant opposition process, by which a request for opposition must be filed with the Thai Patent Office within a prescribed period of time, dating from when the patent was granted.

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