Thailand can't shake off IPR watch list placing

Thailand can't shake off IPR watch list placing

Despite the progress it has made towards improving intellectual property rights protection last year, Thailand remains on the United States Trade Representatives' (USTR) Watch List this year, the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) said on Monday.

Each year, the USTR released a report which assesses the US's trading partners' performance in protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights.

This year's watch list features 20 countries, said Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, director-general of the DIP.

Other nations on the watch list include Algeria, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, he said.

Seven countries -- Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela -- are on the Priority Watch List, he said.

Despite retaining its place on the list, Thailand's work in improving its protection of IP rights in the past year was recognised by the USTR in its latest report, he said.

That said, the report noted that Thailand "continues to seize counterfeit and pirated goods" despite "increased efforts to combat the sale of counterfeit goods online".

It also noted Thailand has ramped up its efforts against online piracy, particularly through enhanced intra-agency coordination, though concerns remain.

The DIP will continue coordinating with the USTR on Thailand's progress in an effort to "improve their understanding on the real situation" so the kingdom can be excluded from next year's watch list, said Mr Vuttikrai.

The DIP has been working more actively to build several concrete mechanisms deemed necessary for improving the protection of IP rights, he said.

One of these mechanisms is a fast track programme for IP registration, in which applicants are provided with sufficient advice regarding IP registration and how to use IP for commercial purposes, he said.

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