Government moving to clear patent back log in 3 months

The Commerce Ministry is looking to invoke Article 44 to fast track approval of some 36,000 pending patents; they are hoping to get the backlog cleared within three months. Applications submitted over five years ago will be automatically approved and those that have already received approval in foreign countries will also be given automatic approval. The backlog is in part due to the Patent Act which allows for a five year examination period as applicants can submit more documentation and to a lack of qualified patent examiners. Currently there are only 24 although approval has been given to increase the number to 120. That will take some time as it can take 2-3 years to train and develop patent examiners. The government will be amending the Patent Act to reduce the wait for patent registration and to improve the patentability and enforceability of petty patents. The government will also be introducing profit-sharing in local communities.

New alcohol tax laws that are making the rounds of social media have prompted the Director General of the Excise Department to state that while a new tax structure on alcohol will go into place within 180 days and the department will be receiving higher taxes the collected tax will not be as high as the tax structure makes it appear. The new excise tax is a merger of seven excise tax laws into one and it changes the tax collection from ex-factory price to retail price without VAT which will be fairer to tax payers, he stated and added that the government policy is that the new tax structure must not affect businesses and consumers negatively. Businesses will be given a six month reprieve to adjust tax rates of their products lower because the revision of the excise tax laws would result in higher tax bases, and therefore they have to lower tax rates, and that this adjustment will not affect consumers.

Exports rose for the third straight month in January 2017, rising by 8.8 percent year on year US$7.1 billion (596 billion baht), and prompting the government to raise their export target to more than 3.5 percent for this year. Shipments to the U.S., Europe, Japan, ASEAN, China and South Asia did quite well and only shipments to Australia and the Middle East dropped with Australia dropping only 0.3 percent while the Middle East dropped 19.2 percent. China was the strongest export market with over 30 percent growth, South Asia grew 24 percent, Europe 10.4 percent, ASEAN 10.3 percent and the U.S. grew 9.5 percent.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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