Thailand is among the Asean countries that must raise their intellectual property rights (IPR) frameworks and enforcement mechanisms in line with global standards in order to join the ranks of high-income countries, new research by the Geneva Network shows.
According to the report, entitled "The Importance of Intellectual Property Rights for Progress: A Reform Agenda for Asean Countries", Thailand needs to make further improvements in important areas such as patent examinations and copyright protection to spur economic growth, escape the middle-income trap, and transition to a higher income economy.
Strong IPR frameworks are important drivers of knowledge-based economies, and are crucial to attracting foreign investment, creating high-value jobs and promoting local businesses, according to the Geneva Network, a UK-based public policy research and advocacy organisation that works on innovation, trade and development issues.
Improved copyright and trademark laws yield positive benefits for the economy. For instance, trademark-intensive industries contribute up to 22% of GDP, while creative industries rely on copyright protection to thrive.
Thailand can improve its ranking in the International Property Rights Index (currently 65th out of 125 economies surveyed, below the global average) through improved enforcement of IPR, speeding up patent examinations and addressing gaps in copyright protection and trademark laws, the report said.
Data show it takes an average of 14 years to get a life sciences patent in Thailand, while some patents have a life of only months or weeks before expiration.
However, the government has made progress in important areas, including action against online piracy and counterfeiters.
The prime minister and deputy prime minister are also leading various IP committees, while the Department of Intellectual Property hired additional patent examiners to cut the backlog by 20% in 2018.
"Thailand needs to become a more knowledge-based economy in order to find new sources of investment and growth, and complete its transition to a high-income country," said Kan Yuenyong, executive director of the Siam Intelligence Unit, a Thai think tank on economics, politics, public policy and international relations.
"A strong framework for the protection of intellectual property rights is key. Although Thailand has made considerable progress in improving IPR protection in recent years, more needs to be done to ensure we do not fall behind our regional neighbours."
To download the Geneva Network report, visit https://bit.ly/2AXziBc