September 24, 2013

WIPR: Thailand Updates Patent Examination Guidelines

Thailand’s guidelines for examining patents are in dire need of clarification. Thai patent examiners have been held back by unclear guidance, which has contributed toward long delays in examination and granting. In order to correct this issue, the Thai Patent Office is set to release updated guidelines for examining patents on September 30, covering pharmaceuticals and chemicals, as reported in a recent story by World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR).

According to Dr. Atthachai Homhuan, manager of Tilleke & Gibbins’ regulatory affairs group, and Wongrat Ratanaprayul, an attorney-at-law at the firm, “the guidelines emphasize and reinforce the fundamental bases of patentability according to Section 5 of the Patent Act B.E. 2522.” To provide greater clarity on patentability, “the guidelines mention that a patent may be granted only for an invention in respect of which the following conditions are satisfied—the invention is new, involves an inventive step, and is capable of industrial application.” This, they argue, will be helpful to patent examiners by ensuring “a more consistent understanding of particular claimed subjects or claim structure.”

However, as far as reducing the backlog of patent applications is concerned, Prateep Naboriboon, senior consultant and patent agent, says, “the new guidelines will only have an impact on the preliminary examination.” He continues: “In practice, the effectiveness of novelty and inventive step examination will not improve, as the examiner will still rely on foreign patents as the basis for grant, while the new guidelines will only limit the scope of allowable claims to be in line with the new public policy.”

To read the full WIPR article on Thailand’s patent examination guidelines, please visit the WIPR website.

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