APAA e-Newsletter (Issue No. 36, August 2023)

Thailand’s Innovation Drive: Recent Regulatory Initiatives

Radeemada Mungkarndee and Tienkul Kangwanwong, Lexel IP Co., Ltd. (Thailand)


In order to transition Thailand from a resource-based economy to an innovation-driven one, the government has implemented a range of regulations aimed at supporting both public and private sectors in advancing research and promoting commercialization. These initiatives are designed to foster a vibrant ecosystem that encourages the transformation of research breakthroughs into viable commercial ventures.

In this article, we would like to provide updates of two regulations as follows:

  1. Public-Private Partnerships

In July 2023, the Prime Minister issued the regulation concerning public-private partnerships in projects that leverage research and innovation outcomes. The key provisions of the regulation are outlined below.

  • Public entities are allowed to invest in innovation, either by jointly investing with the private sector to establish a joint venture company or establishing a juristic person on their own for joint ventures.
  • The public entities have the option to make joint investments using various methods, including cash contributions, asset appraisals including intellectual property, and other valuable assets that can be assessed for their monetary worth.
  • Personnels of public entities (such as professors and researchers) are encouraged to take leave or resign from their positions to contribute their expertise to joint venture companies or manage such ventures. For those personnel who are approved to resign and later return to their public entity roles, the period spent working for the joint venture company will be considered as full-time service for the public entity. This policy aims to facilitate knowledge transfer, foster collaboration, and enhance the flow of expertise between the public and private sectors.

By enabling seamless public sector investment in joint ventures and fostering collaborative innovation across diverse methods and personnel engagement, this regulation lays the foundation for effective knowledge transfer, pioneering projects, and synergistic endeavours that drive national progress.

  1. “Thai Innovation List” Program

The “Thai Innovation List” program was established in 2016 and underwent a recent official fee update that came into effect in June 2023. Managed by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Budget Bureau, Ministry of Finance, the program aims to grant privileges to innovations, including products and/or services, created and owned by Thai juristic persons, facilitating a fast-track treatment in the government procurement process.

NSTDA is entrusted with the responsibility of inspecting whether these innovations meet the listing requirements, such as patent or petty patent registration. Once an innovation is successfully listed, government bodies can procure these innovations from the list using a special procurement specification. The maximum listing period extends up to 8 years from the date of listing, depending on whether the innovation has been previously procured by any government body and the date of such procurement.

As of June 2023, the Thai Innovation List has achieved a milestone of 664 successfully listed innovations.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that if a listed innovation is later found to infringe on intellectual property rights, presents unacceptable usage problems, or fails to meet the specified qualifications, it will be promptly removed from the list. In such cases, the owners of the products and/or services may also be held liable for damages. Additionally, this program offers protection to government bodies, as buyers, from potential intellectual property disputes. This rigorous evaluation and monitoring process ensures that only genuine and deserving innovations enjoy the benefits of the program while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders involved.