Govt takes steps to stop 'bio-piracy'

Govt takes steps to stop 'bio-piracy'

The Department of Intellectual Property is pushing ahead with amendments to the Patent Act aimed at preventing theft of traditional knowledge known as bio-piracy.

Jittima Srithaporn, deputy director-general, said the draft amendment, which is expected to go to a public hearing next month, will introduce mandatory profit-sharing for commercial use of traditional knowledge through patents.

She said a business seeking to patent innovations involving traditional knowledge governing products such as herbs will be required to share any profits made from folk wisdom.

"For example, if a firm wants to make a drug from herbs such as Plao Noi (Croton subiyratus Kurz) and Kwao Krua (Pueraria mirifica), it must specify the source and propose profit-sharing. Failure to comply means the firm can't patent the drug and attempts to conceal information will result in legal action," she said.

Ms Jittima said the amendments will also address issues involving compulsory licencing to come into line with the Trips (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement which governs the use of compulsory licencing by World Trade Organization members.

The proposed changes will enable Thailand to export medicine to countries that face shortages.


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