In unusual move, Thailand to revoke foreign patent requests on marijuana

Thailand’s military government ordered the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) to revoke within three months foreign companies’ patent applications that include cannabis.

The move is unusual, according to one analyst, but would be concerning only if other countries follow Thailand’s lead.

Concerns have persisted for months that international companies could use patents to squeeze out local firms in Thailand’s upcoming medical cannabis industry.

As early as May 2018, a DIP official said the governmental body was looking for ways to deny cannabis patent applications in the official registry, according to the Voice of America news service.

The United Kingdom’s GW Pharmaceuticals and Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical have patents pending with the DIP involving medical cannabis, though neither request has been approved nor rejected.

“I don’t think it’s concerning yet, because we’re still in a very early stage,” said David Kideckel, managing director of the life sciences division of Toronto-based Altacorp.

“It would become concerning if other more sizable countries were to follow Thailand’s lead. At the end of the day, Thailand is such a small market that this is likely to have little to any effect on foreign companies’ operations and bottom line.”

Kideckel recently initiated coverage of GW Pharmaceuticals.

Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly laid the legal groundwork for a medical marijuana industry late last month.

The country’s medical cannabis law awaits approval by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

– Marijuana Business Daily and Associated Press

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