IP rights : USA keep Thailand on the “priority watch list”

Thailand “has not made sufficient progress’ in combatting various kinds of intellectual property rights (IPR) offences, said the annual report of the US Trade Representative.

“The Thai Government made little progress over the past year in addressing the widespread problems of piracy and counterfeiting.”

Along with Thailand, the USTR named China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan and Venezuela as the world’s worst IP offenders.

The countries made the elite US 301 Priority Watch List, named for the section of the Commerce Act regulating the alleged offences. Canada, Indonesia and Algeria are new additions, while Thailand and the other eight were also on last year’s list.

Once a country is listed under the priority watch list, the PWL becomes a basis for the US to press for a “constructive engagement” with that trading partner. Or, to put it another way, exerting diplomatic pressure to change its IP regime.

In theory, the 12 countries on the list could be subject to penalties, trade barriers and embargoes. So far, no action has been taken against Thailand. (Bangkok Post)

Fair enough. We can’t accuse the US authorities to be too harsh. Despiste the regular and classic bullshit served by the thai gvt, piracy is widespread in the country. The gvt doesn’t care about it (and even break IP rights itselft, for instance with the compulsory licenses system for drugs).

Check my articles :

-“Suppressing piracy ? We are working on it” (march 2008)
-Joke Of The Day : in 3 months, no more counterfeit goods (june 2008, Samak)
-Penultimate campaign to “eradicate counterfeit goods” (january 2009, with Abhisit)

In addition to naming Thailand as a top IP offender, the USTR also identified five popular areas in Bangkok as among the world’s most “Notorious Markets”: Pantip Plaza, Mahboonkrong (MBK) shopping centre, and the Klong Thom, Patpong Road and upper Sukhumvit Road areas.

It’s funny to see that even the americans can be blind and/or misinformed. Or too diplomatic… They forgot one of the main malls : Fortune Town, on Ratchadapisek Road. Software, DVD they have them all.

But I guess Fortune Town needs a little bit more publicity. 😉

For the first time, the US report directly addressed the touchiest issue between the two countries – mandatory licensing of drugs. The government has insisted it will not backtrack on its strong stand in favour of removing drug patents for some life-saving drugs in order to reduce prices and increase availability. patent system promotes the development and creation of new lifesaving drugs,” the report says.

At last they they react ! The compulsory licenses decided by the Junta, supported after by Samak and now Abhisit, is a real scandal (read here).

11 Responses to “IP rights : USA keep Thailand on the “priority watch list””

  1. 1 E. Spitzer 1 May 2009 at 1:41 pm

    “But I guess Fortune Town needs a little bit more publicity. ”
    NO !!!!
    I go to Fortune town because it does NOT have any tourist visibility. Let the tourists go to Panthip, keep Fortune Town a ‘secret’.

    It does amuse me to see Canada on the list

  2. 2 DavidB 1 May 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Yes, Fortune Town is a “secret” as E.Spitzer says. But, one only needs to venture a little further north (not on Ratchada) to find others operating with equal “bravado”.
    Perhaps moving the airport to the other side of town, has been a boon to traders……in a perverse way?

  3. 3 Mythbuster 1 May 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I’m confused…
    I thought someone right up there in the Thai hierarchy had recently been honored for his righteous dedication to the protection of Intellectual Property Rights?
    Was I having a day dream ?

  4. 4 ThaiCrisis 1 May 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Quotes from the article written by the US ambassador and published by Nation (hilarious by the way).
    As an inventor and an artist with over 20 patents and 19 trademarks to his name, His Majesty is a strong advocate of intellectual property.


    But it’s not surprising : people who have patents, IP rights… usually like the idea…. of IP rights.
    Look at the pharmaceutical companies, the artists etc.

  5. 5 whoopla 1 May 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Fortune IT Mall is no comparison to Panthip, both in variety of stock and price. You guys can keep the self inflicted secret to yourselves. No one will miss it.

  6. 6 Bedwyr 1 May 2009 at 5:47 pm


    “I’m confused…
    I thought someone right up there in the Thai hierarchy had recently been honored for his righteous dedication to the protection of Intellectual Property Rights?
    Was I having a day dream ?”

    If you were I was sharing it. The same person recently got another one for his ‘contribution to the Thai people’.

    I saw a caterpillar smoking a hookah, and a nice cat grinning and a queen of the red variety on my way here.

    I swear the UN are taking the piss in a *really* subtle way. They can’t possibly be serious.

    Can they?


  7. 7 DavidB 1 May 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Whoopla, I didn’t say Fortune was the “best”, or even better than Panthip. I also suggested there are other malls further north – which I shall keep “secret”.But, in any case, the last thing I want to be accused of, is “surveying” these malls, like some “consumer watch” official, telling people where to find what they want……….

  8. 8 chinesethai 1 May 2009 at 8:35 pm

    There are many more of Pantip and Fortune all over Thailand at your convenience. Who cares? 😛

  9. 9 Bedwyr 2 May 2009 at 8:20 am


    “There are many more of Pantip and Fortune all over Thailand at your convenience. Who cares?”

    That is exactly the problem.

    USA cares. USA thinks Thailand ought to care.

    Thailand only cares when it feels the toe of USA’s boot.

    Thailand only cares about anything when it feels the toe of someone’s boot.

    Never mind. The UN will give the King another phoney award soon and everyone will be happy again. Services to democracy perhaps…


  10. 10 chinesethai 2 May 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Pantip and Fortune Town just position themselves as “IT and PC centres” so it is not surprising they are always sweet targets whenever USA threatens Thailand to rein in IP piracy.

    I don’t think Thailand feels any toe of USA’s boot because the arrest is not the first time. Nobody remembers how many times USA has pressed Thailand so far.

    Those arrests at Fortune Town are just for show only. Everybody knows that. Almost every average shopping mall has these stores open. Farangs, very important patrons, love them too! 😛

  11. 11 prokster 5 May 2009 at 10:47 am

    The IP issues go a lot deeper than knock off CD’s.
    Say you run a software company in TH. You might have a few programmers on the books even. You build software….. but if one of your developer decides to take the company code…maybe go out on his own or join a competitor….so you file a case at the IP courts. Then they will say, well, did this programmer write code? Yes… Well then, you are fucked, because he has equal rights to it. What? Not the company’s IP then? Well, not really…. Shake hands na. Mai pen rai na.

    The only thing the local IP courts understand is simple stuff, like CD’s, cloths etc. Try and take a real IP infringement on software developed in TH and you are almost 100% going to get screwed over. Been there, done that. Lost all and every ounce of faith in their fucked up system. Thailand an IT center? Not in several million years.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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