Commerce minister admits difficult to scrap applications for marijuana patents
Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong has admitted that it is difficult to cancel all the applications for patent registration for marijuana extracts because many of the applications have been submitted to the Department of Intellectual Property since 2010.
However, he said that he has not been complacent about the issue and has assigned the ministry’s legal team to take a close look into the matter.
He insisted that natural extracts from marijuana could not be applied for patent.
In response to call by several groups of people who have raised suspicion with the conduct of the Department of Intellectual Properties over alleged favouritism shown toward certain foreign companies, the minister said he has assigned the commerce permanent secretary to set up a panel to look into all the applications for patent registration.
The director-general of the Department of Intellectual Properties is due to appear before a panel of the National Legislative Assembly on Tuesday to give his side of the story about the patent applications, said Mr Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the NLA whips.
Personally, Somchai said he found the department was procrastinating the matter which has been with the department for about ten years, adding that all the patent applications should now be scrapped because marijuana is still considered illegal.
He said that he did not object to foreign companies applying for marijuana patent registration but suggested they wait until the law to legalize marijuana for medical purposes has become enforceable.