On 24 September 2009, Thailand acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to become the 142nd contracting state of this multilateral treaty. This means that from 24 December 2009, applicants will no longer need to file a separate convention filing in Thailand, but can instead file a single international patent application under the PCT designating Thailand as well as the other 141 contracting states.
Filing an international patent application under the PCT affords applicants an additional 18 months more time than if they had filed directly with individual national patent offices, to decide whether and in which countries they wish to pursue patent protection. This effectively delays, by the same number of months, the costs associated with translating the application, paying national fees and appointing local patent agents.
These advantages are not available if patent applications are filed directly with individual national offices.
Lastly, applicants should be mindful that while the PCT covers most of the major industrial countries of the world, there are a number of notable absentees, including Taiwan, Pakistan, Argentina, Venezuela and most of the Arab world. Applicants should therefore file separate convention applications in these countries at the time of filing the international patent application under the PCT to secure patent protection in these countries.