Radeemada Mungkarndee

What led you to a career in intellectual property and what would be your advice for anyone considering a similar career path?

My journey to becoming a patent lawyer started with a love for reading during my undergraduate science studies nearly three decades ago. Despite the limited internet access, my passion for literature searches and patent exploration ignited my curiosity about their essence and legal intricacies. This led me to enter patent practice, pursue a law degree and obtain two additional scientific degrees in distinct technical fields.

My key advice for aspiring patent practitioners is to establish strong foundations in scientific knowledge and stay abreast of emerging technologies across various disciplines. This broadens your expertise beyond your initial field and equips you to tackle future challenges in patent analysis more effectively.

There is a conversation to be had about whether AI tools infringe on intellectual property. What is your take on this?

This question of potential patent infringement is intricate and requires careful examination, given the unique complexities of these domains. New technologies, including AI, share a dual nature: they enhance various aspects of life while introducing risks that require careful management. Notably, AI stands out due to its rapid advancement, which has surpassed the development of legal frameworks, resulting in legal gaps behind the technological curve. For example, AI tools have significantly shifted the healthcare paradigm, especially during covid-19. However, unauthorised use of patented products or methods in AI analysis and output generation constitutes infringement, with complex challenges in identifying responsible parties, which could arguably be AI developers, operators or resource providers (eg, cloud environments or data for AI training). In this intricate landscape, consulting a patent lawyer is crucial for assessing infringement risks and advising on effective risk mitigation strategies.

In January 2022, Thailand implemented a new patent e-filing system to expedite filings and benefit the environment. Eighteen months on, what are some of the pros and cons of this new system?

While the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) initially faced some challenges with the e-filing system, it has since improved and operated smoothly during the pandemic. Our firm now fully embraces the system with a 100% utilisation rate. However, some limitations remain, including incomplete data migration and occasional inaccuracies in patent agent information. The DIP's IT officers are ready to provide prompt solutions for these issues.

What are your top three tips for multinational clients hoping to navigate Thailand's ever-evolving IP protection landscape successfully?

First, conduct thorough IP compliance. Thailand has been actively working on improving its IP infrastructure and innovation incentives, creating opportunities for multinational businesses. Therefore, understanding government policies and regulations is crucial.

Next, craft a tailored IP strategy. IP protection and enforcement in Thailand have shown improvement over time, yet challenges persist, particularly in the patent registration process and infringement. Multinational clients must customise their IP strategies to align with Thailand's unique circumstances.

Finally, engage competent patent lawyers. In Thailand, only a handful of experts possess the vital blend of technical and legal proficiencies. Thus, a significant portion of patent lawyers tend to prioritise administrative tasks over substantive work. Partnering with lawyers that are proficient in both areas is essential to maximise clients’ IP protection investment.

The current legal services landscape is competitive, and high-quality legal work is considered a minimum. How do you add value for clients in such an environment?

Our unique value proposition focuses on the complete patent lifecycle, setting us apart from other Thai IP firms that mainly place an emphasis on prosecution and litigation.

Patent creation constitutes the core of our work. We work closely with inventors and actively engage in patent inception covering R&D collaborative agreements, patentability searches and assessments and patent drafting.

We also consistently perform freedom-to-operate assessments, providing invaluable insights for new innovations prior to their market launch.

Our expertise shines in formulating patent policies for technology licences. By leveraging my extensive experience as an in-house IP manager at a prominent Thai company (where I oversaw its joint venture operations across multiple countries) combined with my role as a patent lawyer, I can align legal, innovation and IP strategies with business goals to minimise risks and drive sustained client success.

Radeemada Mungkarndee

Partner, Head of Patents and Life Sciences
[email protected]

Radeemada Mungkarndee is a partner and head of patents and life sciences at LEXEL. She specialises in the legal aspects of innovation and technology throughout their entire lifecycle, with her areas of expertise including data privacy, innovation agreements, healthcare, health tech, AI, biodiversity and plant varieties. Dr Mungkarndee’s educational background is diverse, with an LLB, a BSc in chemistry, an MSc in petrochemistry and polymer science and a PhD in biotechnology.

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