US and EU IP judgement on SE Asian countries
Part 1: Thailand
The US 2018 Special 301 Report and the EU report on the protection and enforcement of IP in Third Countries have been released in recent months. It's an interesting exercise to compare the different views.
In SE Asia the combined conclusions are that, overall, major economies including Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have made positive developments in IP over the last 2 years however more work is needed. Indonesia remains a Priority concern in both reports – it is the last SE Asian country on the USTR Priority Watch List, but was moved from Priority 2 to 3 in the EU list in recognition of some improvement in its IP protection. Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia remain on Priority 3 in EU report, while USTR lists Thailand and Vietnam on its Watch List.
This post focuses first on Thailand. Thailand remains on both the EU Priority 3 List and improved its ranking on the USTR Watch List.
Both the EU and USTR credited Thailand on its establishment of a National Committee on IP Policy and a subcommittee to improve the coordination of IP enforcement agencies. Both reports also took note of Thailand efforts to catch up with its backlog of IP applications and joining the Madrid Protocol. Concerns remain especially for USTR regarding a range of copyright issues, including a widespread use of unlicensed software in both public and private sectors, lengthy Court proceedings and low damages, extensive cable and satellite signal theft, and counterfeiting and piracy remain rife.
The EU urges Thailand to strengthen its IP protection by including landlord liability for trade mark infringement and putting in place an effective “notice and take down procedure” against copyright infringement. The USTR also emphasises strengthening copyright laws and protection against unfair commercial data use, and to address its public health challenges while maintaining a patent system that encourages innovation.
At a general level Thailand is having to address complex IP issues, and its national policy and coordination is strong. This reflects the more advanced state of Thailand's IPR system.