Thailand: Impact of international patent developments
On May 5 2017, the Thai Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) issued two announcements in regard to patent processes in Thailand: (1) Announcement on the Establishment of a List of International Search Authorities and International Preliminary Examining Authorities (No 2); and (2) Announcement on Fees for International Applications, International Searches, Delivery of International Applications and Late Payment of Fees.
The first announcement specifies the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) among the list of International Search Authorities (ISA) and the International Preliminary Examining Authorities (IPEA), while the second announcement establishes new fees for international applications, which have been adjusted to reflect the current fee rates charged by the listed ISAs and the current currency exchange rates.
These two developments reflect the continued positive steps being taken by the DIP to create greater efficiencies and to upgrade patent processes, as well as to clear the patent backlog that poses a constant obstacle to timely patent prosecution in Thailand.
IPOS as ISA and IPEA
The DIP's Announcement on the Establishment of a List of International Search Authorities and International Preliminary Examining Authorities (No 2) confirms the IPOS as a body qualified as an ISA and an IPEA for international applications filed in Thailand.
According to the search fees outlined in the Announcement on Fees for International Applications, International Searches, Delivery of International Applications and Late Payment of Fees, fees for searches conducted by IPOS are the third highest after the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office at ฿61,000 ($1,720) without the possibility of a reduced rate. However, numerous possible advantages of using the IPOS as the ISA and IPEA should not be overlooked. As IPOS's turnaround time to issue a first office action is approximately 60 days, and the Office is able to review prior art published only in Chinese as part of the search and examination process, the use of IPOS as the ISA and IPEA represents a fast and thorough search process. IPOS is also used as the ISA and IPEA for PCT applications filed with the United States, Japan, Mexico, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos or Vietnam as the receiving office.
Amended fees for international patent applications
The Announcement on Fees for International Patent Applications, International Searches, Delivery of International Applications and Late Payment of Fees establishes new fees, which have been adjusted to reflect the current fee rates charged by the listed ISAs and the current currency exchange rates.
According to this Announcement, the international application paper filing fee in Thailand is set at ฿53,000 ($1,430) for the first 30 pages of the application and ฿750 ($22) per subsequent additional page. Further, the online filing fees have been adjusted to between ฿41,000 and ฿49,000 ($1,155 to $1,380) depending on the electronic file types in which the documents are submitted. Reduced rates are available for applicants who are nationals of or reside in certain countries, as specified under the PCT.
Overall, the fees have been slightly reduced from the previously applicable rates in order to reflect the exchange fluctuations. Additionally, the search fees for each qualified ISA have been reduced as well, except for the Japan Patent Office and the Australia Patent Office. Such fee reductions will be beneficial for all patent applicants.
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