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The Inventor and Development King

The Inventor and Development King

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Published by KTBF
The audience was in reference to the decision by WIPO to present its first WIPO Global Leaders Award to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
The audience was in reference to the decision by WIPO to present its first WIPO Global Leaders Award to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

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Published by: KTBF on Jan 24, 2009
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The Inventor and Development King “Villagers have said that miracles happen wherever the King treads

. Arid land becomes fertile once again.” To the uninitiated, it must be tempting to dismiss this approximate translation of a Thai radio spot as worshipful hyperbole. Yet to Thais, apart from the obvious affection towards their King, the statement contains a very real element of truth. For over half a century, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has applied his technical ingenuity and resources to improving the lives of his people, in particular farmers otherwise at the mercy of nature. His inventions have helped make droughts more bearable, water less polluted and innovation more widely appreciated. What the Thai people have long known has again been given due recognition by the outside world. On 14 January 2009, Dr. Francis Gurry, Director-General of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) presented the WIPO Global Leaders Award to His Majesty the King. WIPO, a United Nations specialized agency with 184 member states, announced in January last year that His Majesty would be the first recipient of this award – its most prestigious recognition of outstanding contributions by world leaders to the cause of intellectual property to promote development. In its press release, WIPO acknowledged His Majesty’s “remarkable contribution to intellectual property both as an inventor and as an active proponent of intellectual property as a tool for development”, also noting him as an artist who has “created over 1,000 works, including paintings, photos, musical and literary works such as songs and novels”. Some of His Majesty’s best known projects relate to artificial rain. Rainmaking techniques invented by His Majesty, with such memorable names as “sandwich” and “super sandwich”, have brought welcome moisture to land parched by drought, and relief to thousands of farmers. The Royal Rain Project, as it is called, is one of the more than 4,000 royally initiated development projects to date. Others include those pertaining to irrigation, farming, drought and flood alleviation, crop substitution, public health, distance learning and employment promotion. Another of his inventions well-known among Thais is the Chaipattana aerator. This family of devices, building on villagers’ familiarity with water wheels, was developed as a lowcost solution to help address water pollution in rivers, canals, swamps and marshes, in areas that lacked an effective waste water treatment system. Examples of the major water treatment projects which employ the Chaipattana aerator include those in Bangkok’s Makasan Lagoon, initiated by His Majesty the King himself, and in Ayutthaya’s Bangpa-in Palace, implemented with cooperation from the German business community. Today, the aerators are widely used to treat water in both Bangkok and rural areas. One such aerator also stands in Woluwe Saint-Pierre Park in Brussels. Other royal inventions include water purification devices, a liquid-propelled engine for small boats, as well as techniques for conversion of palm oil into palm diesel as an alternative source of energy, and techniques to revitalize acidic soil. In implementing many of his projects, the King, who studied science and engineering in Switzerland before switching to law and political science to prepare for his responsibilities as a constitutional monarch, has invented and developed along the way various tools and techniques suited to the problems at hand and the areas concerned. A large area of the Chitralada Palace

2 compound – the royal residence in the heart of Bangkok – serves as the King’s living laboratory for research and experimentation related to his development projects. The King’s many inventions have made him the owner of considerable intellectual property. The Thai King is said to own over 20 patents and 19 trademarks, most of which are for tools and techniques developed for and implemented in a range of rural development projects. His Majesty obtained Thai patents for his rainmaking techniques in 1999 and 2003. His “super sandwich” technique – so called because it involves seeding clouds with environmentfriendly chemical substances to produce cool and warm clouds at different altitudes – was granted Patent #1491088 by the European Patent Office under the title “Weather Modification by Royal Rainmaking Technology” in October 2005. His Chaipattana aerator was earlier patented in 1993, and has since won quite a few international awards and other forms of recognition. At the Brussels Eureka 2000, 49th World Exhibition of Innovation, Research and New Technology in November 2000, His Majesty’s Chaipattana low-speed surface aerator (model RX-2) won, among others, the WIPO’s Prix OMPI Femme Inventeur Brussels Eureka 2000 Medal as a world’s outstanding invention, the Grand Prix International Cup for ingenuity in efficient application of technology, and the Yugoslavia Cup from the Group of Yugoslavia countries. Some of his other innovations also received prizes and mentions at the same exhibition in 2001, namely the Bio-diesel Oil Project – Palm Oil Formula, the New Theory Project and the Royal Rain Making Project. The Royal Projects have continued to uplift the livelihood of Thais, particularly farmers, in all parts of the country where agriculture remains a central part of life. Even Bangkok, which suffers from chronic flooding and traffic congestion, have benefited from royally initiated projects designed to alleviate the plight of urban dwellers. The presentation of WIPO’s Global Leaders Award is important for Thais. Certainly, it shows international recognition of the accomplishments of their beloved King. At the same time, for a country which has more than once been taken to task for alleged intellectual property rights violations, the fact that their King has proven to be a key advocate of such rights should help raise the Thai public’s awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights protection. Already, this has in part inspired the Thai Government to stress the importance of intellectual property in its policy. Hopefully, it might even inspire our younger generations to follow in His Majesty’s footsteps by inventing world-class technologies that would benefit their fellow man. Tharit Charungvat Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson and Director-General of the Department of Information Ministry of Foreign Affairs _____________________

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