Thailand ratified accession to the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) on 10 January 2008. The legal instrument of accession to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was submitted to the WIPO on 2 May 2008, thus Thailand became bound by the Paris Convention on 2 August 2008, bringing the total number of States party to the said Convention to 173.
Thailand has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Prior to 2 August 2008, only priority applications filed in other WTO countries were allowed to be claimed in Thailand provided the Thailand applications are filed within 12 months from the priority application filing date. Patent applications filed in other countries which originated from Thailand were not allowed to claim the priority of the corresponding Thailand application if the patent laws in the countries only allow priority claims from priority applications filed in Paris Convention member states. This is true as the Paris Convention only allows the priority date to be claimed if the priority application was filed in a Paris Convention member country.
As Thailand is now part of the Paris Convention, Thai applicants will be delighted to note that their patent applications filed overseas will enjoy the priority dates of their Thai applications.
As for the PCT, the Council of State, legal advisor to the State, will make recommendations as to whether the Ministry of Commerce can amend the Ministerial Regulation to accept international applications without amending the Patents Act or if the Patents Act must be amended. If the council of State deems that amending the Ministerial Regulation is sufficient, Thailand will be able to accede to the PCT. This development would allow patent applications filed overseas to enjoy the priority dates of their Thai counterparts.