Thailand’s patent system is currently facing a grave problem–the length of time between patent application filing and the grant of a patent is an unduly long process. This has resulted in a backlog of unprocessed patent applications, causing delays in obtaining patent rights and preventing new products from reaching the markets quickly. James Evans, a patent expert and consultant with the Tilleke & Gibbins intellectual property group, was recently asked by Managing Intellectual Property to comment on this most important topic.
Agreeing with the severity of the problem, James says, “The figures in Thailand are quite concerning, with some pharmaceutical patents taking up to 14 years to be granted.” He points out that this problem stems in part from a lack of examiners, and that despite the Department of Intellectual Property drafting new patent examination guidelines to address this concern, the matter is far from being resolved. He goes on to say, “The draft’s interpretation of efficacy is an issue,” because it is “getting toward India’s approach, which we don’t want to be doing.” The draft’s standard of efficacy is considerably higher than other jurisdictions, as new formulations of existing drugs are not novel unless they “differ significantly in properties with regard to efficacy.” James further advises that the draft needs more clarification, as terms such as “surprising effect” are used inconsistently in the guidelines.
James’s comments were used as the basis for an article posted on the Managing Intellectual Property website, a leading source of news and analysis on all intellectual property developments worldwide. If you would like to read the whole article, please visit the MIP website (subscription required).