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Cablegate: Thailand Disappointed but Not Surprised by Priority Watch

VZCZCXRO8011
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHBK #1278 1161108
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251108Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2798
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BANGKOK 001278

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TPP/IPE RACHEL WALLACE
STATE PASS USTR FOR JENNIFER CHOE GROVES
STATE PASS USPTO
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/OIPR JENNIFER BOGER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR TH
SUBJECT: THAILAND DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED BY PRIORITY WATCH
LIST DECISION

REF: State 43148

1. (SBU) Econ counselor, accompanied by USPTO Intellectual Property
Attache, conveyed talking points in reftel to Department of
Intellectual Property Dep. Director General Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa,
informing her that Thailand will be placed on the Section 301
Priority Watch List again this year. At the April 25 meeting at the
Ministry of Commerce, we noted that we recognize the many efforts
the RTG is making to protect IPR, but that piracy continues to be
rampant. We also made clear that the decision was based on a wide
range of IPR issues; concern regarding Thai policy on compulsory
licensing was only one factor of many. We asked that news of the
decision be embargoed until it is announced in Washington, D.C., on
the afternoon of April 25.

2. (SBU) DDG Wiboonlasana said she appreciated the heads-up, and
would report the U.S. determination to Commerce Minister Mingkwan
later in the day. She said she was disappointed, but not surprised,
by the decision. She also said that it would be hard to explain the
decision to the public given that other countries in the region have
equally serious IPR problems, inferring that people would inevitably
believe that Thailand is being singled out because of the CL policy.
Econcouns and USPTO Rep responded that the determination was based
on input from rights-holders, who had said that problems in Thailand
were of a serious nature. Pharmaceutical interests had actually
recommended that Thailand be named a PFC, but USTR followed the
majority of industry that asked that Thailand remain on the PWL. No
one recommended that Thailand be moved up to the Watch List.

3. (SBU) DDG Wiboonlasana said her Department had made extensive
efforts over the past year to protect IPR. Her Director General has
been working very hard, she said, especially in the area of
enforcement, to show that the Thai Government takes the issue very
seriously. The Director General was out of the office today because
she was holding her second meeting with the Royal Thai Police on
this issue. She said that while her Department provides training to
the police on IPR, the police have many competing priorities, while
DIP only has one. DDG Wiboonlasana noted that, while protection and
enforcement are very important, DIP does equally important work in
the area of IP promotion. She added that they believe public
education is essential to changing ingrained attitudes toward IPR
piracy.

4. (SBU) The DDG welcomed the U.S. desire to strengthen dialogue and
cooperation, but requested that future DVCs have a more focused
agenda so that her Department does not have to make long
reiterations of information she said is already supplied to the U.S.
side in monthly enforcement reports. IP Attache stressed the need
to show that these efforts have had a deterrent effect. Many raids
and arrests mean little if there is no prosecution and subsequent
serious sentencing.

5. (SBU) DDG Wiboonlasana claimed that Thailand only has "little
fish" infringers who should not be jailed. IP Attache said that DIP
could use its coordinating role more effectively if it were able to
track cases from the point of the raid to sentencing, using
resulting data to prove the effectiveness of the enforcement system.
IP Attache offered assistance in discussing possible roles for DIP
to play in improving the quality of Thai data and helping rights
owners to track raid results through the Thai legal system.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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