Patenting Artificial Intelligence and Software in Southeast Asia: Thailand Patent Overview


Patenting AI Technology and Software in Southeast Asia is becoming increasingly sought after as more foreign investors enter into the market. The laws and regulations regarding patenting AI Technology and Software are not uniform across Southeast Asian countries, but the region overall is taking strides to provide avenues of protection for those looking to protect their proprietary technologies. In Singapore, specifically, there is even a fast-track scheme for examining and granting AI-related patent applications – the Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence.

Creating a successful AI-related patent application intimately involves understanding and following the patentability criteria according to each specific jurisdiction. Pure software or software characterized only by source code may be protected through copyright laws, however AI-related software may require complex algorithms, datasets, and training methodologies which may be harder to disclose in an application that satisfies the enablement requirement. The patent laws of Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam specifically list computer programs as unpatentable subject matter, however a workaround exists to ensure that the patentability requirements are satisfied. The drafter of the application can mention the connection between the software and its tangible medium, as this method could possibly overcome a refusal due to unpatentable subject matter.

The ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation is an agreement amongst member countries to accept one another’s examination results. Several associations made under this agreement include a Patent Prosecution Highway between Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam with Japan, as well as a patent validation agreement provided by Cambodia of European patents without a further examination.

By taking deliberate measures to understand the patenting process and staying abreast of the ever-changing market opportunities available in the region, businesses can create a comprehensive patent strategy to protect their valuable assets and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

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