Published at Bangkok Post on 6/02/2012 at 12:00 AM
The government is pushing for establishment of a common standard of geographical indication (GI) registration in Asean to ensure trust and prepare members for the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
Kajit Sukhum, assistant director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said a comparable common standard would benefit consumers in Asean and add value to products, resulting in more income to GI producers in local communities.
Thailand is the country with the most advanced GI protection law, which was implemented in April 2004 to protect both local and foreign products with GI properties. Currently there are 38 registered GI products, 31 of which come from domestic producers.
The issue of Asean GI will be raised at the meeting of the Asean Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation to be held in Phuket from March 28 to April 2.
The working group meets at least twice a year to develop the Asean intellectual property (IP) system. An action plan for 2012 to 2015 has been prepared to guide member countries through IP development in the region.
There are now two systems of GI registration in Thailand, through the Geographical Indication Act and the Trademark Act.
Asean is the most important trade bloc for Thailand. It has raced past other partners to become the No.1 export market. The country shipped a total of $44.33 billion to Asean in 2010, or 22.7% of total exports.
Thailand has applied for GI protection for three Thai products: Thung Kula Rong Hai fragrant rice, Doi Tung coffee and Doi Chaang coffee.
The registration is still in process and Thai officials expect approval within a year.
Pajchima Tanasanti, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said her agency has cooperated with IP departments in other Asean countries to protect intellectual property rights within each country as well as at the borders.
Violation of copyright products is still rampant along Thailand’s borders with Laos and Malaysia, while trademark violations were found at the Thai-Cambodia border.