Improving Patent Quality through Pre-grant Opposition in Thailand

Wanwipar Puasiri


Quality control in granting patents is a strong concern nowadays because granting patents without effective quality control will lead to negative spillover effects on competition, innovation, and the economy and adversely affect the public interest. More often than not, patent quality suffers from a poorly conducted examination process arising from lack of resources and information. Further, overburdened patent offices are another factor in low-quality patents. Pre-grant and post-grant opposition help in overcoming these problems by allowing third parties or interested persons to monitor patentability subject matters. Only innovations with valuable technology are worthy of receiving exclusive protection under patent law. Because each type of opposition has its relative merits and demerits, a country that wants to adopt the opposition process must take all factors into account including its domestic patent law. Thailand is one of the developing countries located in South East Asia that has adopted a pre-grant opposition system. In place for several years, it has seen plenty of oppositions and patent application appeals. This article considers the efficiency of the pre-grant opposition process in decisions of the Thai Board of Patents. An in-depth examination and analysis undertaken in the article points to the fact that although patent quality is in the eye of the beholder, pre-grant opposition proceedings in Thailand, when incorporated in legislation, increase patent quality, in return bettering innovation for the public benefit.

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